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US drunk driver who killed British cyclist on Menorca avoids jail

Motorist Bryan Leeds tested positive for alcohol and drugs after fatal collision but was handed suspended sentence

An American tourist who killed a British cyclist earlier this month while driving on Menorca while under the influence of drinks and drugs has avoided jail.

Philip Rasmussen, aged 47 and from Cardigan in Wales, was killed on Easter Sunday when he was struck from behind by 25-year-old Bryan Leeds on a road between Sant Lluis and Alcafar earlier this month.

> British cyclist killed by American drunk driver in Menorca

Mr Rasmussen, a father-of-three who was chief financial officer at tech firm IQE had been on a bike ride from the holiday home he owned on the Mediterranean island.

The motorist failed a breath test at the roadside and also tested positive for drugs, but according to Euro Weekly News was able to satisfy Spanish authorities that he had a prescription for amphetamine tablets that he had in his possession.

Following his arrest earlier this month, Leeds was released on €10,000 bail on the condition he did not leave Menorca before appearing in court last week.

He has now been handed a one-year suspended jail sentence, with Euro Weekly News reporting that the offence of manslaughter with which he was charged is punishable by a maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment.

It adds that in the case of first-time offenders, suspended jail sentences of up to two years are the norm in Spain.

Simon joined road.cc 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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17 comments

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ChrisB200SX | 5 years ago
0 likes

what's a prescription got to do with anything? Either it's illegal to drive under the influence of drink and drugs, or it isn't.

This is not a deterrant to other potential killer drivers. Justice for the victims?

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IanW1968 | 5 years ago
0 likes

I'm in no way defending the driver but for context it is reported elsewhere that he had 35mg of alcohol in his blood that on the limit for the UK (so not over) but Spain has a lower 25ml limit. 

The sentance is also normal not exceptional, although a good lawyer probably helped it along. 

Avatar
Sniffer replied to IanW1968 | 5 years ago
4 likes
IanW1968 wrote:

I'm in no way defending the driver but for context it is reported elsewhere that he had 35mg of alcohol in his blood that on the limit for the UK (so not over) but Spain has a lower 25ml limit. 

The sentance is also normal not exceptional, although a good lawyer probably helped it along. 

There isn't a UK limit anymore and you may have confused blood and breath limits and units.

Scotland is 50 milligrams per 100ml of blood and 22 micrograms per 100ml of breath.

In other parts of the UK it is 80 milligrams per 100ml of blood and 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath.

Avatar
IanW1968 | 5 years ago
1 like

I'm in no way defending the driver but for context it is reported elsewhere that he had 35mg of alcohol in his blood that on the limit for the UK (so not over) but Spain has a lower 25ml limit. 

The sentance is also normal not exceptional, although a good lawyer probably helped it along. 

Avatar
Christopher TR1 | 5 years ago
2 likes

Un-fcuking-believable!

How can his wife and 3 kids ever get their heads around the fact that this killer is able to walk out of court and carry on with his life as if nothing has happened?!

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Kendalred replied to Christopher TR1 | 5 years ago
0 likes
Christopher TR1 wrote:

Un-fcuking-believable!

How can his wife and 3 kids ever get their heads around the fact that this killer is able to walk out of court and carry on with his life as if nothing has happened?!

Not sure, but I'm guessing they won't. Not sure I can either.

A cautionary tale for those of us Brits who regularly get some sunny miles in Mallorca, or the Canaries.

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burtthebike | 5 years ago
3 likes

I'm feeling rather ambivalent about this; utterly astonished that a drunk driver can kill and not receive a prison sentence, and comforted that it isn't just this country which thinks that killing someone with a car while drunk isn't particularly heinous.

It would appear that excusing killer drivers, drunk or not, is pretty much a world wide phenomenon, with the possible exception of some European countries.

Revolution.

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DrG82 | 5 years ago
10 likes

Leaving aside the amphetamines issue, he was drunk and killed someone, surely this is enough to warrant a jail sentence.

 

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zero_trooper replied to DrG82 | 5 years ago
5 likes
DrG82 wrote:

Leaving aside the amphetamines issue, he was drunk and killed someone, surely this is enough to warrant a jail sentence.

 

 

Exactly what I was thinking. Killing someone whilst drink driving is a pretty serious first offence. Jailing a foreign national was obviously too much hasslesurprise

Regarding the prescription amphetamines, surely you can't drive under their influence anymore than you can drive under the influence of illegal ampethamine.  Especially mixed with alcohol. The fact that they were legally prescribed is a complete red herring. But, as I've said in a previous post 'Spain is Spain' 

Avatar
don simon fbpe replied to zero_trooper | 5 years ago
2 likes
zero_trooper wrote:
DrG82 wrote:

Leaving aside the amphetamines issue, he was drunk and killed someone, surely this is enough to warrant a jail sentence.

 

 

Exactly what I was thinking. Killing someone whilst drink driving is a pretty serious first offence. Jailing a foreign national was obviously too much hasslesurprise

Regarding the prescription amphetamines, surely you can't drive under their influence anymore than you can drive under the influence of illegal ampethamine.  Especially mixed with alcohol. The fact that they were legally prescribed is a complete red herring. But, as I've said in a previous post 'Spain is Spain' 

I'm not too sure what this means.

I understand that the driver was a well known person in the area and from money, but I don't think that the Guardia Civil are that corrupt anymore. Let's not forget that Spain has been using unmarked cycling plod to catch close passing bastards for quite a while, and they have a healthy close pass initiative throughout the country.

Avatar
zero_trooper replied to don simon fbpe | 5 years ago
1 like
don simon wrote:
zero_trooper wrote:
DrG82 wrote:

Leaving aside the amphetamines issue, he was drunk and killed someone, surely this is enough to warrant a jail sentence.

 

 

Exactly what I was thinking. Killing someone whilst drink driving is a pretty serious first offence. Jailing a foreign national was obviously too much hasslesurprise

Regarding the prescription amphetamines, surely you can't drive under their influence anymore than you can drive under the influence of illegal ampethamine.  Especially mixed with alcohol. The fact that they were legally prescribed is a complete red herring. But, as I've said in a previous post 'Spain is Spain' 

I'm not too sure what this means.

I understand that the driver was a well known person in the area and from money, but I don't think that the Guardia Civil are that corrupt anymore. Let's not forget that Spain has been using unmarked cycling plod to catch close passing bastards for quite a while, and they have a healthy close pass initiative throughout the country.

I'm not too sure what this means.

Apologies, a very basic way of saying that obviously they have their own, different laws. I could have said 'Spain isn't the U.K.' Just doesn't sound as good. Certainly not being derogatory about Spain, my dad's from there!

Avatar
don simon fbpe replied to zero_trooper | 5 years ago
1 like
zero_trooper wrote:
don simon wrote:
zero_trooper wrote:
DrG82 wrote:

Leaving aside the amphetamines issue, he was drunk and killed someone, surely this is enough to warrant a jail sentence.

 

 

Exactly what I was thinking. Killing someone whilst drink driving is a pretty serious first offence. Jailing a foreign national was obviously too much hasslesurprise

Regarding the prescription amphetamines, surely you can't drive under their influence anymore than you can drive under the influence of illegal ampethamine.  Especially mixed with alcohol. The fact that they were legally prescribed is a complete red herring. But, as I've said in a previous post 'Spain is Spain' 

I'm not too sure what this means.

I understand that the driver was a well known person in the area and from money, but I don't think that the Guardia Civil are that corrupt anymore. Let's not forget that Spain has been using unmarked cycling plod to catch close passing bastards for quite a while, and they have a healthy close pass initiative throughout the country.

I'm not too sure what this means.

Apologies, a very basic way of saying that obviously they have their own, different laws. I could have said 'Spain isn't the U.K.' Just doesn't sound as good. Certainly not being derogatory about Spain, my dad's from there!

Not a problem, as I said, I wasn't sure. yes

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds replied to don simon fbpe | 5 years ago
0 likes
don simon wrote:
zero_trooper wrote:
DrG82 wrote:

Leaving aside the amphetamines issue, he was drunk and killed someone, surely this is enough to warrant a jail sentence.

 

 

Exactly what I was thinking. Killing someone whilst drink driving is a pretty serious first offence. Jailing a foreign national was obviously too much hasslesurprise

Regarding the prescription amphetamines, surely you can't drive under their influence anymore than you can drive under the influence of illegal ampethamine.  Especially mixed with alcohol. The fact that they were legally prescribed is a complete red herring. But, as I've said in a previous post 'Spain is Spain' 

I'm not too sure what this means.

I understand that the driver was a well known person in the area and from money, but I don't think that the Guardia Civil are that corrupt anymore. Let's not forget that Spain has been using unmarked cycling plod to catch close passing bastards for quite a while, and they have a healthy close pass initiative throughout the country.

Spain's KSI rate is nothing to write home about (circa 1600 with a significant lower miles travelled than UK) Spain shows 33 cyclist deaths as of 2016 though this is only on 'inter-urban' roads. In Spain apparently a road fatality is only classed as such if the death occurs within 24 hours after the incident, this seems to slant the figures.

Also cycling injuries/incidents are on the increase, this article deals with  such things as the Spanish government decriminalising so called 'minor' negligence in road incidents. To the point that a hit and run HGV driver who killed a cyclist was not brought to justice when the case eventually came to be heard 3 years later!  It's certainly not all sweetness and light over there.

https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/05/09/inenglish/1494316854_460862.html

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to DrG82 | 5 years ago
1 like
DrG82 wrote:

Leaving aside the amphetamines issue, he was drunk and killed someone, surely this is enough to warrant a jail sentence.

 

 

Look into the background of Bryan Leeds.  Ten to one, he's a mate of someone at the US embassy.

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... | 5 years ago
7 likes

It is now the moral right - if not duty - of the relatives of the victim, to ensure that this pile of vermin receive a just punishment.  

Avatar
brooksby | 5 years ago
1 like
Quote:

was able to satisfy Spanish authorities that he had a prescription for amphetamine tablets that he had in his possession.

  surprise​Really? I'm not going to google it because, you know, search history, but is there a legimitate reason that someone might have for amphetamines?  And if they did, wouldn't they / shouldn't they know not to mix them with alcohol??

Mr Leeds should be providing advice/excuses to Team Sky...  yes 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 5 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:
Quote:

was able to satisfy Spanish authorities that he had a prescription for amphetamine tablets that he had in his possession.

  surprise​Really? I'm not going to google it because, you know, search history, but is there a legimitate reason that someone might have for amphetamines?  And if they did, wouldn't they / shouldn't they know not to mix them with alcohol??

Mr Leeds should be providing advice/excuses to Team Sky...  yes 

I don't think this'll hurt my search history any, so after a quick search, ADHD, narcolepsy and obesity can be treated with ampetamines, including these:

  • Ritalin
  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine
  • Adderall
  • Phenylpropanolamine, also known as “uppers”

(from a U.S. site http://amphetamines.com/types/legal/the-legal-use-of-amphetamine/)

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