Killer driver sentenced to 10 years and 6 months for deaths of Bristol tandem couple

Disqualified driver had already pleaded guilty to causing deaths by dangerous driving of tandem riding couple and then fleeing the scene

by Tony Farrelly   May 22, 2013  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

Disqualified driver Nicholas Lovell, 38, was today jailed at Bristol Crown Court for 10 years and six months and banned from driving for life for killing husband and wife Ross, 34, and Clare Simons, 30, when he crashed into them as they rode their tandem bike while he was trying to get away from a police car.

Lovell, who last month pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of the young married couple initally fled the scene of the incident which took place in Hanham on the outskirts of Bristol, on the 27th of January this year.

He handed himself in to a Bristol police station on the night of the incident - police had already tracked down the vehicle he was driving, a Citroen Picasso belonging to 35 year old, Louise Cox who was a passenger in the car when Lovell hit Ross and Clare Simons. Cox, was subsequently found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice, after she gave the police a false name and description of the driver, she was sentenced to 12 months.

Prior to the incident, a police officer had signalled for the vehicle to stop, but Lovell failed to do so. The officer lost sight of the Citroen, which then struck another vehicle before hitting and killing Mr and Mrs Simons - the couple were killed instantly by the collision.

Initial reports were that the police were involved in a pursuit of the vehicle, but police subsequently confirmed that was not the case. The incident was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but was later referred back to Avon & Somerset Constabulary to investigate.

Speaking after Lovell's trial Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Williams said:  "This collision was caused by Nicholas Lovell, a disqualified driver who got behind the wheel of the car and drove at speed, before losing control and striking the couple while they cycled.

"Nicholas Lovell then ran away from the scene in a bid to escape, leaving behind Louise Cox who then deliberately and callously set out to mislead police at the scene.

"The pleas entered today by both Nicholas Lovell and Louise Cox reflect that both have taken some responsibility for the deaths of Ross and Clare.

"While these pleas will never bring Ross and Clare back, I hope they go some way to providing comfort for their families."

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Better than most but 10 years for a double killing?
stick a zero on the end maybe!

posted by mattsccm [316 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 17:54


I suspect the 6 months was for killing two cyclists and the 10 years for not stopping for the police and running away.

posted by georgee [158 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 18:36

1 Like

Finally a case where a driver gets an appropriate sentence for killing ciclyst(s), but ...
One thing bothers me.

It seems that when an allege police pursuit of a vehicule has letal consequences, suddenly, facts get "corrected" after an inquiry. It no longer involves a pursuit. Particulary if the reason(s) motivating the pursuit do not support putting innocent lives at risk.

We have had a similar case in Canada.

A harsh sentence is also another element that is factored in to give an impression of justice and avoid rasing question about the behaviour and potential partial responsibility of the police.


posted by Krazyfrenchkanuck [10 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 19:22

1 Like

In light of the passenger deception and guilty of perverting the course of justice, knowing full well the facts, she too should have received a heftier sentence.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 21:15


So they banned a previously disqualified driver for life?? That should stop him driving when he gets out in 5 years. Pathetic.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [493 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 21:37

1 Like

I just wonder if, with modern technology a banned driver might be required to carry a Garmin style monitor/transmitter which recorded their movements. It would highlight when they were moving along a road, and if this was at a speed above the local limit. At any time the movement could be called in for audit, and if the banned person was found to be driving a period of greater curfew imposed. The audit might be relatively simple - any recorded journey not made by public transport, or on foot/cycle would be 'visible' from the record of locations/speeds, and verification of who the motor vehicle driver was required.

Any vehicle being used by a banned driver, whether they owned it or not could be impounded, and unless clear extenuating conditions exist, destroyed (so no 'friends' might be tempted to 'lend' a banned driver a car).

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [560 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 22:20


Restored my faith in the justice system. Partially.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [136 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 22:51

1 Like

Good news.Would have preferred 10 years per life as he'll be out in 2018 but at least he won't be driving a car again. Maybe he can start riding a bike.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1218 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 23:04

1 Like

cidermart wrote:
So they banned a previously disqualified driver for life?? That should stop him driving when he gets out in 5 years. Pathetic.

And what are they supposed to do to stop him driving again ? I would imagine that he will drive again when he is out, but this is the court, all they can do is hand down a sentence, they are not the police.

10 years is actually pretty long sentence for a non murder, I've read far too many reports of drivers getting no custodial sentences for killing riders, this is a step in the right direction, now we need to keep up the pressure to get harsher sentences and applied consistently across all courts.

posted by mikeprytherch [220 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 8:26


A Step In The Right Direction??


10, years and 6, months is a wee bit lenient for killing two people. 20, years would have been more appropriate for such a terrible crime.

posted by Mostyn [430 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 9:44


Good result on the sentence but a raspberry for our local MP Chris Skidmore. In the wake of the killing he promised to look at getting traffic calming measures installed on that stretch of road, which might not have saved this couple's life, but would make it a hell of a lot safer to cycle there. I emailed him and haven't even received a response.

posted by Mr Agreeable [162 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 9:53


I’ve got a very good idea that would stop him driving again its called ‘Life Imprisonment’.
Step in the right direction?? As ‘Georgee’ says six months for killing two cyclists and ten years for running from the police.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [493 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 11:03


Thinking Perhaps if the penalty for breaching a driving ban was life imprisonment these mindless murderers would think twice about it. I'd also have the police confiscate the cars of any drivers given a temporary or permanent driving ban although I acknowledge that that wouldn't spot them driving other people's vehicles. For those who have a temporary ban, I would add a requirement for the driver to have compulsory cycle training & provide evidence of 1,000 ridden on a bike to that they gain some understanding of what it's like not to be surrounded by air bags & a crumple zone.


posted by Aileen [18 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 13:22