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Killer driver sentenced to 10 years and 6 months for deaths of Bristol tandem couple

Disqualified driver had already pleaded guilty to causing deaths by dangerous driving of tandem riding couple and then fleeing the scene

Disqualified driver Nicholas Lovell, 38, was today jailed at Bristol Crown Court for 10 years and six months and banned from driving for life for killing husband and wife Ross, 34, and Clare Simons, 30, when he crashed into them as they rode their tandem bike while he was trying to get away from a police car.

Lovell, who last month pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of the young married couple initally fled the scene of the incident which took place in Hanham on the outskirts of Bristol, on the 27th of January this year.

He handed himself in to a Bristol police station on the night of the incident - police had already tracked down the vehicle he was driving, a Citroen Picasso belonging to 35 year old, Louise Cox who was a passenger in the car when Lovell hit Ross and Clare Simons. Cox, was subsequently found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice, after she gave the police a false name and description of the driver, she was sentenced to 12 months.

Prior to the incident, a police officer had signalled for the vehicle to stop, but Lovell failed to do so. The officer lost sight of the Citroen, which then struck another vehicle before hitting and killing Mr and Mrs Simons - the couple were killed instantly by the collision.

Initial reports were that the police were involved in a pursuit of the vehicle, but police subsequently confirmed that was not the case. The incident was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but was later referred back to Avon & Somerset Constabulary to investigate.

Speaking after Lovell's trial Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Williams said:  "This collision was caused by Nicholas Lovell, a disqualified driver who got behind the wheel of the car and drove at speed, before losing control and striking the couple while they cycled.

"Nicholas Lovell then ran away from the scene in a bid to escape, leaving behind Louise Cox who then deliberately and callously set out to mislead police at the scene.

"The pleas entered today by both Nicholas Lovell and Louise Cox reflect that both have taken some responsibility for the deaths of Ross and Clare.

"While these pleas will never bring Ross and Clare back, I hope they go some way to providing comfort for their families."

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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