A motorist in North Wales who hid in bushes while a cyclist his vehicle had struck lay dying has been jailed for eight months.
Susan Griffiths, aged 47, was riding her bike to work early one morning in Dwygyfylchi, near Conwy, last December when she was hit by a Ford Mondeo driven by 29-year-old Michael Lundstram of Llandudno.
Lundstram, who had previously been banned from driving in 2009 and who was uninsured, failed to stop and raise the alarm, instead hiding in some bushes, reports the Daily Post.
Mrs Griffiths, who suffered serious head and facial injuries in the incident, was spotted by a nurse driving past the scene of the incident 15 minutes later who summoned an ambulance, but the mother of five died later in Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.
The court heard that Lundstram had been up all night playing snooker and poker prior to the fatal collision and that his vehicle had two bald tyres.
“At 5.30am on December 9 he collided with a pedal cycle,” said prosecution barrister Ian Evans.
“Susan Griffiths was thrown from the bike and landed in the carriageway.
“The defendant didn’t stop to see if she was OK, or call the emergency services. Instead he fled the scene and went up to the mountain where he hid in some bushes.”
He added that Mrs Griffiths was still alive when she was spotted by the passing nurse.
Peter Moss, defending Lundstram, said that his client, who pleaded guilty to causing death while driving without insurance ad failure to stop, was “remorseful” and “contrite” and that the incident “will haunt him for the rest of his life.”
He added that Lundstram had fled the scene due to “panic at the gravity of the situation” and did not know that he was uninsured since he assumed his wife had made the necessary arrangements.
Describing Lundstram, a father-of-two, as “well respected,” he urged the judge to give him a community sentence and curfew order, saying that his client was “terrified at the prospect of an immediate custodial sentence.”
Judge Niclas Parry ignored that plea, however, imposing an eight-month prison sentence on Lundstram and banning him from driving for two and a half years.
He described Lundstram’s attitude towards his lack of insurance as “cavalier,” but said that ““paled into insignificance” in the light of what he did following the collision.
In a statement issued following sentencing, Mrs Griffiths’ husband Arwyn said that Lundtsram’s behaviour had been “truly selfish” but acknowledged that the judge was unable to impose a stronger sentence.
“I cannot believe how any human being could knowingly hit a cyclist and leave them without even calling an ambulance,” he said. “That is a truly selfish act.
“I am disappointed with the sentence this morning but fully understand that the Judge is limited with sentencing guidelines.
“As a family we knew before attending court that no sentence would be enough to reflect the true loss and suffering we as a family have experienced and will continue to do so following the untimely death of a loving wife, mother, grandmother and daughter.
“The crime committed causing the death of my wife has naturally affected me and my family significantly – financially, physically but most of all emotionally. We have been absolutely devastated with our loss and will feel the pain forever.
“I still cannot believe that myself, her sons, daughter, granddaughters and grandson won’t see her again. At least Michael’s family will see him again when they visit him in prison and when he is a free man in a few months’ time.
He added: “I would like to thank the police for their professional investigation and particularly the support given to me and my family by the family liaison officer.”
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.