A driver who killed a cyclist while driving “like an idiot” has been jailed for six years. Robert Hall – who had his young daughter in the back when he hit Andrew Wilsea – was told that he had shown no remorse and no real insight into how bad his driving was.
Robert Hall lost control of his car during a shopping trip with his daughter to buy toiletries in August. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that he hit a kerb while driving at over 70mph which caused him to career across Gelderd Road in Leeds.
Hall’s Rover hit Wilsea, who was cycling in the opposite lane, before ending up in a hedge. The court heard that the bike had been left “embedded” in the side of the car.
Hall said that he believed he had been driving at 50mph – the legal limit for that stretch of road – but accepted expert evidence indicating this was not the case. Analysis showed that he had been driving in excess of 70mph for about a minute just before the collision.
Camera footage from a bus showed Hall’s car overtaking another vehicle shortly before the collision and the court was also shown CCTV footage of the vehicle going out of control.
Witness Jonathan Braithwaite saw Hall’s car moments before the collision and said: “I saw the vehicle and I thought ‘what an idiot, why do you need to travel that fast?’ but I didn’t think any more of it at the time.”
Braithwaite then came across the collision scene shortly afterwards.
After going over to Wilsea and trying to give him first aid, he approached Hall.
“He had blood on his face but it didn’t look like he had any injuries. I asked if there was anything I could do. “He was looking for his glasses. I held his daughter while he was looking for his glasses.”
Wilsea had become a father for the fourth time two weeks earlier and had just finished his paternity leave.
Asked by prosecutor Michael Smith whether there was a significant difference between 50mph and 70mph when driving a car, Hall replied: “Not in my perception, no.”
Smith asked Hall: “Do you agree that as a driver you should have realised it?”
Hall replied: “I do now, yes.”
Hall pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving but not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was found guilty of the more serious charge.
Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said: “I observed you in the witness box. You showed no remorse. You showed no real insight in to how bad your driving was. I am quite sure you lied to the police. You knew perfectly well what speed you were doing.”