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Unlicensed driver jailed for five months for killing cyclist

The court heard 76-year-old cyclist Tony Ashcroft would have been visible "for at least 5 seconds"...

An uninsured, unlicensed driver who killed a cyclist who would have been visible to her for “at least five seconds” before the collision, has been jailed for five months.

Angela Willshire, 32, of Thatchwell Court, Standens Barn, appeared at Northampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving.

The court heard Tony Ashcroft, aged 76, was cycling on the A510 between Wellingborough and Finedon, near Sidegate Lane, at 11pm on Friday, March 13, when he and the green Citroen Saxo, driven by Willshire, collided.

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A collision investigator told the court Ashcroft, who was wearing a high-vis vest and had lights, would have been visible to Willshire for at least five seconds before collision.

The court also heard Willshire was uninsured at the time of collision as her licence had been revoked by the DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency), but the defendant was unaware of this issue.

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The Northampton Chronicle and Echo reports Stephen Evans, defending, said his client “did not know what had happened” but accepted that she “ought to have seen the cyclist”.

Judge Rupert Mayo, sentencing, said there was no sentence he could pass that would compensate for the suffering and grief of Mr Ashcroft’s family.

He said: “Mr Ashcroft’s body and cycle were lit up and you should have been able to see him with the headlights of your car.

“A collision investigator has estimated you had five-and-a-half seconds to see him. I don’t know why you didn’t.”

Willshire was jailed for five months, and disqualified from driving for two years.

A CTC spokesperson said:

“We are always saddened to hear of the death of a cyclist, but this case hit closer to home as Tony was a CTC member. The loss of someone from CTC's community makes us all the more determined to tackle the dangers of bad drivers and bad roads.

“The significant thing about the sentence handed down to Willshire is that it's not at all out of the ordinary. Almost all drivers convicted of causing death by careless driving receive a driving ban, with the majority of bans lasting under three years. A third of those convicted go to prison and almost all of them go down for a year or less. The rest get suspended sentences, community sentences or fines. These light touch sentences do little to deter offenders and send out the message that taking someone's life with a motor vehicle is not a serious offence. Longer driving bans and lifetime bans are a much better deterrent.

“The long overdue public consultation on driving offences and penalties is the perfect opportunity to toughen up sentences for bad drivers. But while the Government continues to delay more and more drivers are getting off with derisory sentences.”

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