Driver had been drinking and taking cocaine on day teenager was killed

An Oxfordshire man faces a jail sentence after being found guilty of causing the death of a teenage cyclist while under the influence of alcohol. The motorist, Jonathan Ashworth, aged 55, from Shipton-on-Cherwell, had also taken cocaine before the incident in which 18-year-old Tom Kahl was killed.

After Ashworth was convicted by a unanimous decision of the jury at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Christopher Compston told him, “Rest assured, you will be facing prison," when he returns for sentencing next month, reports BBC News.

Ashworth, who had borrowed a Range Rover from a neighbour, pleaded guilty to causing death by driving while uninsured and causing death by driving while unlicensed. However, he denied the charge of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The court was told that the victim had been cycling without lights and was listening to his MP3 player when he was killed in July 2010, near Thrupp.

However, Thames Valley Police insisted that did not lessen Ashworth’s responsibility for what had happened, with Sergeant Peter Jell saying: "If he hadn't been drink-driving, if he hadn't been taking cocaine, then the consequences of what happened could have been so different.

"All through this we've never tried to hide that Tom is not blameless,” he continued. “He wasn't displaying lights on his bike and he'd been drinking, but despite that he was still there to be seen and had Mr Ashworth have been paying full attention, then this tragedy could have been avoided."
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.