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Sentencing next month for motorist rushing for flight who killed Northern Irish Commonwealth Games medallist

A driver whose conviction for causing the death by dangerous driving in August 2008 of top Northern Ireland cyclist David McCall was overturned earlier this year has pleaded guilty at his retrial to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving. He will be sentenced next month, reports the Belfast Telegraph and could face a jail term of up to three years.

In March 2010, Antrim Crown Court sentenced motorist Gerard Croome to five years’ imprisonment after he had been found guilty of causing the death of Mr McCall by dangerous driving.

At the trial, 28-year-old Croome, from Liverpool, admitted that he had been rushing to the Belfast International Airport to catch a flight, and said that father of two Mr McCall, who was taking part in a race, had swerved to avoid a small dog.

The 46-year-old cyclist, a Commonwealth Games medallist, worked as a civil servant but continued to be involved in cycling and had recently qualified as a commissaire.

The force of the impact broke Mr McCall’s bike in two, with the cyclist thrown from his bike and suffering fatal injuries. Witnesses said that Croome, who did not stop immediately but returned to the scene shortly afterwards, had been driving aggressively.

In January, the Court of Appeal quashed that verdict and ordered a retrial as a result of his lawyers arguing that there were sufficient differences in witness accounts to give rise to a sense of unease or doubt about the verdict.

At Croome’s initial trial, it was revealed that he had twice been convicted of speeding prior to Mr McCall’s death, and twice again afterwards.

Judge Norman Lockie, passing sentence at that original trial, remarked upon Croome’s apparent lack of remorse, while it was also revealed through pre-sentencing reports that he had not accepted the jury’s verdict and continued to protest his innocence.

On the second day of Croome’s retrial this week, once again at Antrim Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

According to current sentencing guidelines, the maximum sentence that can be imposed for a conviction on that charge in a case that “borders on dangerous driving” is three years’ imprisonment.

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.

7 comments

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koko56 [330 posts] 4 years ago
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Seems like a cool guy...  31

Wonder how much weight the speeding offences after the incident have.

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 4 years ago
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So he could be convicted and sentenced to three years, BUT having served around 10 months (going on the March 10 till Jan in the report)

He'll only have 8 months to serve? OR because its a totally different conviction it will be 18 months, anyone know?

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OldRidgeback [2662 posts] 4 years ago
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Well at least he's admitted guilt.

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Cauld Lubter [135 posts] 4 years ago
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I wonder if the small dog ever existed.

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Kim [239 posts] 4 years ago
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It really is time to end the culture of the sacred driving licence. Driver have to understand that the have responsibilities and they have to take them seriously!!

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PATMAC [27 posts] 4 years ago
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as a resident of this area perhaps what should have come out is that this was a technical hit and run, afaik he had to be physically made to go back to the scene, this from guys who were at the race..should have got 20 years, no excuse for agressive driving on a country road in the middle of a bike race..  14

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check [10 posts] 4 years ago
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"his lawyers arguing that there were sufficient differences in witness accounts to give rise to a sense of unease or doubt about the verdict."

Of course there were differences, that's why there is more than one witness. No one person has the full picture and by listening to different accounts of what happened the court should arrive at the truth. I honestly cant believe the state our legal system is in.