A motorist who killed a cyclist as he checked that his satellite navigation device was still working after it had fallen off the windscreen has been found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
The victim, 37-year-old Arthur Platt from Lyndhurst, Hampshire, had been taking part in a charity ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for Help for Heroes when he was killed in July last year on the dual carriageway A442 in Telford, Shropshire.
The driver, 47-year-old Stuart Cook from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, had pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving. He returned a not guilty plea to the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving, but was convicted by a unanimous decision of the jury at Shrewsbury Crown Court, reports the Shropshire Star.
Mr Platt was airlifted to hospital but died of the injuries he sustained in the incident, which happened when Cook, who was returning home in his BMW from a business meeting, took his eyes off the road to retrieve the device and check the screen was still lit, the court heard.
Speaking after the jury had returned its verdict, the victim’s widow Madeleine said that her husband, who had himself been unable to join the services on physical grounds, was a “special man” who was determined to raise money for the armed forces charity.
“He was a very special man,” she said. “We are not vindictive people, but if one positive can come of this it is that if people can read what happened and make sure it never happens to anyone else.
“He would want to prevent something like this happening again,” she continued.
“Help for Heroes was a charity that is very close to his heart and he raised more than £10,000 for them.”
Mr Platt’s sisters, Marie Molloy and Kim McKye, said: “A wonderful and much loved young man lost his life owing to the dangerous actions of Stuart Alan Cook. We respect the jury’s verdict and we are grateful for justice.
“Whatever the outcome there can be no winners today because, as much as we wish with all our hearts to wind back time and bring Arthur back, that simply cannot be done.
They added: “Finally, we realise that this has been a difficult time for the family of Mr Cook and we wish to extend our sympathy to them.”
Sentencing will take place at a later date.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.