Three years in jail for drunk driver who killed teen cyclist in Oxfordshire

Motorist had also taken cocaine before getting behind wheel of borrowed Range Rover

by Simon_MacMichael   November 15, 2011  

Gavel

An Oxfordshire man has been jailed for three years for killing a teenage cyclist while under the influence of alcohol. Jonathan Ashworth, aged 55, who as well as drinking had taken cocaine prior to the fatal incident, was also been banned from driving for five years, reports the BBC.

Ashworth, from Shipton-on-Cherwell, was driving a Range Rover he had borrowed from a neighbour when he struck and killed 18-year-old Tom Kahl on the A4260 close to Thrupp in July last year.

In September this year, he was unanimously convicted by a jury at Oxford Crown Court of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol, a charge he had denied. He had pleaded guilty to causing death by driving while uninsured and causing death by driving while unlicensed.

Investigating officer Sergeant Pete Jell of Thames Valley Police said: "I hope people take note of this case and in the run-up to Christmas they remember Tom if they consider having a drink before driving.

"Tom's family will never be the same again. They have been left devastated by what happened to their son."

16 user comments

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So a life is worth three years!!!! The justice system in this country is so fubar'd

Angelfishsolo's picture

posted by Angelfishsolo [104 posts]
15th November 2011 - 12:29

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Its an insult to the family!!

2 wheels please!

posted by mancsi [119 posts]
15th November 2011 - 12:33

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3 years and a 5 year ban for THAT? An 18-year old with his whole life opening ahead of him, ruined by an auld bastard coked out his heid and pissed as a fart.

The drunken idiot might as well have just been taking random pot shots with a loaded gun.

I'd argue at the very least mandatory manslaughter, however he really should be looking at 20 years minimum and a lifetime ban from even looking at another vehicle ffs.

You'd get more than 3 years for defrauding a bank. Angry

posted by moonbucket [55 posts]
15th November 2011 - 13:24

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Meant to add - contrast with the related news story of the motorist, drunk of course, who killed an 11 year old in Kentucky.

Sentencing was at the discretion of the jury who gave her THIRTY FIVE years, finding her guilty of murder, wanton endangerment, criminal mischief and driving under the influence.

Bring that in here!

posted by moonbucket [55 posts]
15th November 2011 - 13:27

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Why worry about the length of his ban. he pleaded guilty to driving uninsured and unlicensed. Combined with the drug and drink consumption but the prosecution still only went for careless driving.

posted by 1961BikiE [80 posts]
15th November 2011 - 13:45

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An absolute disgrace.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [294 posts]
15th November 2011 - 15:10

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... and of course thanks to our over-crowded prisons the tosser will be back out and up to his hi-jinks in about 18 months

posted by mad_scot_rider [538 posts]
15th November 2011 - 15:18

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The depressing truth is that juries historically have not given guilty verdicts for manslughter where a vehicle is involved. Hence we have all the stupid death by careless / dangerous driving offences. 3 years is a lot better than most i've seen recently

posted by paulrattew [51 posts]
15th November 2011 - 16:14

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I'm all in favour of donating to a charity to fund a hitman for cyclists justice.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [937 posts]
15th November 2011 - 17:08

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The family must be feeling devastated, but this adds insult. I thought the days of paltry sentences for drink driving were over and judges took a very dim view. Obviously not.

If only the same level of 'exemplary' sentencing that were imposed on rioters were introduced to these crimes.

meluvsunshine

posted by pedalismo [58 posts]
15th November 2011 - 17:52

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disgusing! shows the level the justice system in this country places us cyclists ..

posted by Karbon Kev [667 posts]
15th November 2011 - 18:22

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+1 for that. Surely we need to start taking the law into our own hands if the system can't (or won't) do it for us.
How many more have to die?
APF

posted by alexpalacefan [7 posts]
15th November 2011 - 21:41

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I think that juries and judges should be able to look at things like drink and drugs and if people are over the legal limits, they should be able to infer pre-meditation.

Accidents can always happen, but there are three pretty strong reasons here why this guy should never have been driving a car in the first place.

That makes it murder in my book.

Pete

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posted by PeteH [159 posts]
15th November 2011 - 22:35

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In such cases it is easy to reach a hasty conclusion to events. Now, whilst any death is always a tragedy there are other factors that need to be considered in this case.

Whilst the driver, Mr Ashworth, was over the drink drive limit (107mg /100ml) the cyclist, Mr Kahl, had 207mg of alcohol in 100ml of his blood. Both were breaking the law at the time of the accident.

Additionally, Mr Kahl was riding without lights & listening to his iPod, further limiting his awareness of the environment in which he has chosen to ride.

I know the accident scene very well - it is a wide fast well groomed straight A-road with no street lighting. During the day in full visibility it is a daunting place to ride, with cars racing past at 65-70mph. But at night with no lights...... Hmmm....

I think that before we jump on the bandwagon of 'every driver who has a collision with a cyclist is a criminal' we need to look at the facts & reach our conclusion from what we are presented with.

And we need to work towards raising awareness amongst cyclists that riding at night, without lights is both illegal & very dangerous. I just wish that the Police took this matter more seriosuly & became a lot more proactive in prosecuting errant cyclists.

From a chemical & reaction / awareness persepctive the cocaine comment inclusion is largely irrelevant as, apparently it was taken 24 hours before the incident. I am happy to put my hand up & admit to driving on many occasions 24 hours after drinking without blinking an eye.

This is a truly tragic accident & my thoughts are with Mr Kahl's family, but the actions of both Mr Ashworth & Mr Kahl were fundamental to it occurring in the first place.

Bikesoup's picture

posted by Bikesoup [22 posts]
16th November 2011 - 12:38

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Bikesoup wrote:
In such cases it is easy to reach a hasty conclusion to events. Now, whilst any death is always a tragedy there are other factors that need to be considered in this case.

Whilst the driver, Mr Ashworth, was over the drink drive limit (107mg /100ml) the cyclist, Mr Kahl, had 207mg of alcohol in 100ml of his blood. Both were breaking the law at the time of the accident.

Additionally, Mr Kahl was riding without lights & listening to his iPod, further limiting his awareness of the environment in which he has chosen to ride.

I know the accident scene very well - it is a wide fast well groomed straight A-road with no street lighting. During the day in full visibility it is a daunting place to ride, with cars racing past at 65-70mph. But at night with no lights...... Hmmm....

I think that before we jump on the bandwagon of 'every driver who has a collision with a cyclist is a criminal' we need to look at the facts & reach our conclusion from what we are presented with.

And we need to work towards raising awareness amongst cyclists that riding at night, without lights is both illegal & very dangerous. I just wish that the Police took this matter more seriosuly & became a lot more proactive in prosecuting errant cyclists.

From a chemical & reaction / awareness persepctive the cocaine comment inclusion is largely irrelevant as, apparently it was taken 24 hours before the incident. I am happy to put my hand up & admit to driving on many occasions 24 hours after drinking without blinking an eye.

This is a truly tragic accident & my thoughts are with Mr Kahl's family, but the actions of both Mr Ashworth & Mr Kahl were fundamental to it occurring in the first place.

At last a sensible and balanced comment

posted by bauchlebastart [84 posts]
16th November 2011 - 14:01

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I think its noteworthy that the alcohol element appears to be taken so much more seriously, judging by the sentence. Had the driver not been drinking, but merely 'careless', I doubt very much he would have gone to prison at all.

posted by don_don [149 posts]
17th November 2011 - 16:48

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