A driver has been sentenced to seven months in jail, suspended for a year, after admitting causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving near Brighouse. Philip Roper hit and killed William Stoker, who was cycling in the opposite direction, while overtaking another car on January 14 last year.
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports that Roper had been travelling along the A6025 behind a BMW which had moved to overtake a slower moving Kia.
Roper, driving a Citroen C5, had also moved to overtake and while prosecutor Stephen Wood said that the road was theoretically wide enough to allow the manoeuvre and leave enough space for an on-coming cyclist, this depended upon the position of the vehicles.
“This collision occurred when the defendant pulled out further into the offside than the BMW and collided with Mr Stoker, who was there to be seen,” said Wood, who said the cyclist had been wearing a red high-vis jacket.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said Roper should have waited before making the manoeuvre.
“You should have waited,” he said. “By the time you saw the cyclist, if you saw him at all, it was too late.”
Roper had been due to stand trial on the charge, but entered a guilty plea last week. Tom Gent, representing him, said that his client was “utterly shattered” by what had happened and was still unable to sleep properly.
The court heard that the guideline given to judges in cases of “momentary inattention” causing death was a low-level to high-level community order.
As well as the suspended sentence, Roper was banned from driving for two years and made subject to a five-month electronically-monitored home curfew.
Durham Hall conceded that the sentence would not satisfy the victim’s family or many of the public.