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Driver freed on appeal in David McCall case admits causing death by careless driving at retrial

Sentencing next month for motorist rushing for flight who killed Northern Irish Commonwealth Games medallist

A driver whose conviction for causing the death by dangerous driving in August 2008 of top Northern Ireland cyclist David McCall was overturned earlier this year has pleaded guilty at his retrial to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving. He will be sentenced next month, reports the Belfast Telegraph and could face a jail term of up to three years.

In March 2010, Antrim Crown Court sentenced motorist Gerard Croome to five years’ imprisonment after he had been found guilty of causing the death of Mr McCall by dangerous driving.

At the trial, 28-year-old Croome, from Liverpool, admitted that he had been rushing to the Belfast International Airport to catch a flight, and said that father of two Mr McCall, who was taking part in a race, had swerved to avoid a small dog.

The 46-year-old cyclist, a Commonwealth Games medallist, worked as a civil servant but continued to be involved in cycling and had recently qualified as a commissaire.

The force of the impact broke Mr McCall’s bike in two, with the cyclist thrown from his bike and suffering fatal injuries. Witnesses said that Croome, who did not stop immediately but returned to the scene shortly afterwards, had been driving aggressively.

In January, the Court of Appeal quashed that verdict and ordered a retrial as a result of his lawyers arguing that there were sufficient differences in witness accounts to give rise to a sense of unease or doubt about the verdict.

At Croome’s initial trial, it was revealed that he had twice been convicted of speeding prior to Mr McCall’s death, and twice again afterwards.

Judge Norman Lockie, passing sentence at that original trial, remarked upon Croome’s apparent lack of remorse, while it was also revealed through pre-sentencing reports that he had not accepted the jury’s verdict and continued to protest his innocence.

On the second day of Croome’s retrial this week, once again at Antrim Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

According to current sentencing guidelines, the maximum sentence that can be imposed for a conviction on that charge in a case that “borders on dangerous driving” is three years’ imprisonment.

Simon joined 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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check | 12 years ago

"his lawyers arguing that there were sufficient differences in witness accounts to give rise to a sense of unease or doubt about the verdict."

Of course there were differences, that's why there is more than one witness. No one person has the full picture and by listening to different accounts of what happened the court should arrive at the truth. I honestly cant believe the state our legal system is in.

PATMAC | 12 years ago

as a resident of this area perhaps what should have come out is that this was a technical hit and run, afaik he had to be physically made to go back to the scene, this from guys who were at the race..should have got 20 years, no excuse for agressive driving on a country road in the middle of a bike race..  14

Kim | 12 years ago

It really is time to end the culture of the sacred driving licence. Driver have to understand that the have responsibilities and they have to take them seriously!!

Daclu Trelub | 12 years ago

I wonder if the small dog ever existed.

OldRidgeback | 12 years ago

Well at least he's admitted guilt.

Gkam84 | 12 years ago

So he could be convicted and sentenced to three years, BUT having served around 10 months (going on the March 10 till Jan in the report)

He'll only have 8 months to serve? OR because its a totally different conviction it will be 18 months, anyone know?

koko56 | 12 years ago

Seems like a cool guy...  31

Wonder how much weight the speeding offences after the incident have.

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