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Diabetic driver jailed for killing cyclist on Kent A2

Driver was "significantly lax" in monitoring blood sugar ...

A driver who suffers from Type 1 diabetes has been jailed for 15 months for causing the death of a cyclist on the A2 in 2012.

Graham Epps, a 29-year-old IT worker from Canterbury, was cycling home from work when Charles Maxted, 53, hit him with his Vauxhall Meriva on the coastbound A2 at Boughton, near Gate services, just before 7:40pm on August 3 2012.

Mr Epps died at the scene.

At a hearing on September 1 2014, Maxted pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was sentenced on December 22 to 15 months in jail, and banned from driving for 20 years.

Delays while the court waited for medical reports meant it took over two years for the case to come to trial.

Maxted was initially told he would not face prosecution, but was charged after a review of the initial decision not to charge by the Crown Prosecution Service.

At an earlier hearing, Judge Statman said: “On its face, it is a highly unusual and difficult case. It would be sensible to have a complete overview of the medical evidence.”

Maxted initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea before the trial got underway.

It emerged that Maxted had been careless with his blood sugar monitoring and had suffered a medical episode while behind the wheel.

Inspector Martin Stevens from the Roads Policing Unit at Kent Police said: "Maxted, a type one diabetic for most of his adult life, had been significantly lax in his daytime testing regime. The sentence imposed should serve as a reminder to all driving licence holders that the consequences of driving when not fit all are truly devastating."

A statement from Mr Epps’ family read: ‘Our Graham's death was most certainly an avoidable one. The ripples of the events from that evening were felt all around the world.

"It is every driver’s responsibility not only to drive safely but to ensure they are fit to be behind the wheel before they drive. In our Graham's case tragically this did not happen. That evening Graham was given a life sentence, no sentence given to the driver involved would ever change the events of that evening.

"However, some things can and must change. Drivers with medical conditions have to be 100 per cent sure they are fit to drive before they get behind the wheel - something that is expected of all drivers no matter what their circumstances.

"A driving license is a privilege, not a right. We ask that all drivers respect that privilege.

"The complacency of one driver’s actions that evening could so easily have been far more severe. So many lives are deeply affected by one such event, lives that will never be the same. We want to prevent this happening to others.

"In Graham's memory, we wish to raise awareness, so that one good thing can come from this tragic event.

"We want to say publically: All drivers with diabetes must check their glucose levels before every journey and not think that it doesn’t matter or rely on that they ‘feel ok’, because it certainly does matter. The consequences of not testing resulted in the death of Graham."

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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