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Texting driver who killed cyclist granted leave to appeal sentence

Christopher Gard, who had 8 previous convictions for using phone at wheel, was jailed for nine years for killing Lee Martin

Christopher Gard, jailed for nine years in September after pleading guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of cyclist Lee Martin, has been granted leave to appeal his sentence.

Mr Martin, aged 48, had been taking part in a time trial on the A31 when the fatal collision happened at Bentley on 12 August 2015.

Gard had been texting a friend when he struck Mr Martin and it was later revealed that he had deleted three texts from his phone immediately after the crash.

At his trial in September, Winchester Crown Court also heard that he had six previous convictions for using a handheld mobile phone while driving – the most recent being a month and a half before Mr Martin’s death, when Gard persuaded magistrates to let him keep his driving licence.

> Nine years in jail for texting driver who killed cyclist

After Gard was sentenced to nine years in jail and banned from driving for fourteen and a half years, the victim’s brother Darrell Martin said the courts had failed to protect him.

"There were opportunities to stop the man from driving around,” he said. "Just six weeks before he had persuaded a magistrate not to take his licence away and promised to lock his phone in the boot."

He added: "The text message – think about how inane this is – it was about meeting his mate later and taking his dog for a walk. That's what killed my brother."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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