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89-year old rider died after being struck from behind

A lorry driver has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service, disqualified from driving for a year, had his licence endorsed and been ordered to pay £85 costs after admitting causing the death of a cyclist through dangerous driving.

The Daily Gazette reports that Tony Smith, 46, of Kirby Cross, Essex was driving a Silverton Aggregates LGV when he struck 89-year-old Vera Chaplin who was riding along Frinton Road in Kirby Cross, on August 9 last year.

Smith is said not to have seen the cyclist until it was too late, striking her from behind and causing her to fall from her bike. Ms Chaplin died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the fall.

The court heard from her brother Sam who said in a written statement: “She was, to some extent, my carer. At age 92, I am not able to get out and about – I am not in good health.” He added that his life has changed “dramatically” since his sister’s death.

District Judge David Cooper said the incident had resulted in “a tragic end to a long life” but added that Smith - who the court heard was of "exceptional character" - had expressed his “total and absolute remorse” over the incident.

The victim’s niece Jenny Osbourne said: “Vera was a remarkable woman whose independence and energy knew no limits. She enjoyed life and to have died in such circumstances was truly unjust.”

Steve Brewer, from the Stanway road policing unit, said Vera was a regular cyclist. He added: “The collision itself was relatively minor. This crash highlights the need for drivers of all vehicles to take extra care at junctions.

"Cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians can sometimes be difficult to see, particularly when a driver is looking for something more visible, such as a car or larger vehicle.”