A driver who mounted the pavement in his 4x4 and ploughed into a cyclist has been given a suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court. Kyle Larmouth had heard rumours that Wesley McKenna had been responsible for the theft of his bike and “saw red.”
Chronicle Live reports that at around 4pm on September 7, 2015 on Norham Road in North Shields, Larmouth drove across oncoming traffic and mounted the pavement with all four wheels. He dragged the victim for a few metres and the bike for somewhere around 50 metres, before fleeing the scene, weaving in and out of traffic “like some kind of movie police chase.”
McKenna was left with multiple fractures to his face, lost teeth and sustained a broken ankle in the incident.
Judge Gittins said: “It has been accepted by your counsel that you saw red on seeing him for the first time since the theft and as one can understand, seeing red is the worst emotion to have when in charge of any vehicle, let alone a vehicle of this size.
“It’s suggested you wished to speak to him. I suspect you were seeking to frighten him with your approach and you wanted to challenge him about the theft.”
Larmouth pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving on the basis he did not deliberately attempt to inflict serious harm.
Prosecutor Liam O’Brien said the Crown was “somewhat sceptical” that it was not a deliberate attempt to knock McKenna from the bike, but accepted it was not “a deliberate attempt to inflict really serious injury.”
Addressing Larmouth, the judge concluded: “It was on any view a catastrophic misjudgement of speed and distance, falling far below the standard of a competent driver.
“It’s accepted you were not deliberately attempting to cause him really serious harm, however that is what you did do.
“If there was any suggestion you deliberately sought to cause him the harm you in fact caused, there would be no question the sentence would be measured in years.”
The judge added: “You need to appreciate what you did that day was extremely serious. The fact is you could have killed him given the size of the vehicle and the force of the collision.”
Larmouth was given a 23-month sentence suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work, a three month night-time curfew, a two-year driving ban and was asked to pay the victim £500 compensation.
Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s Campaigns Coordinator commented:
“This case is extremely puzzling. It seems that the prosecutor and the judge are drawing a distinction between serious injury and really serious injury, where if you only intend to cause the former to a cyclist when you drive along the pavement then it’s a suspended sentence.
“This begs the question what type of ‘catastrophic misjudgement’ is necessary to justify immediate custody in such a case? It is exactly this type of inconsistency which has prompted the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s inquiry ‘Cycling and the Justice System’ which we hope will persuade the Ministry of Justice of the need for change.”