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“Dreadful” hit-and-run driver who killed cyclist before “calmly” boarding train to London jailed for five and a half years

Edward Hinchliffe, on licence from prison for sex offences at the time of the fatal crash, struck triathlete Simon Chesher before driving through a red light and repeatedly hitting the kerb with a smashed windscreen

A motorist who struck a cyclist, leaving him for dead, and then continued to drive with a smashed windscreen, before “calmly” boarding a train to London, has been jailed for five and a half years.

Retired headteacher Edward Hinchliffe, a convicted sex offender who was out of prison on licence at the time of the hit-and-run collision, was driving to Didcot Parkway railway station when he crashed into triathlete Simon Chesher on the A417 Reading Road, near Wantage, on 2 August 2020, the Oxford Mail reports.

Mr Chesher, who was out on a Sunday morning ride with a friend, died in hospital a month later from head injuries sustained in the crash, having never regained consciousness. He was 38.

Following the collision, Hinchliffe, now 77, claims to have panicked and kept driving when his “fight or flight” instinct kicked in.

Despite heavy damage to his windscreen – so severe that other motorists said that it looked like it had been “shot” – Hinchliffe carried on driving to the station and, according to one witness, drove through a red light before repeatedly hitting the kerb in Didcot.

After taking a train to Paddington, he was arrested later that afternoon at a friend’s house in North London.

At Oxford Crown Court yesterday afternoon, Hincliffe was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and driving dangerously after the collision. He was sentenced to five and a half years in prison and banned from driving for seven years and nine months.

> Drink-drug driver who killed cyclist jailed for seven and a half years under tougher sentencing law

“Any humanity that you had evaporated and you calmly went on your way to London as if nothing had happened. Dreadful, dreadful behaviour,” Judge Michael Gledhill KC said during sentencing.

“Any decent person would have immediately stopped and offered what assistance they could. You did not.”

During the trial, it emerged that the motorist was out of prison on licence at the time of the hit-and-run incident, after being handed in 2008 an indefinite sentence for public protection (a now abolished sentence intended for offenders considered “dangerous”) related to sex offences, when a decorator found indecent images in a cupboard at his home.

He was ordered at the time to spend eight months in prison, and has since served further time in custody after being convicted of other offences.

> Hit-and-run driver who had “alcohol, cocaine and cannabis” in system jailed for 13 years for killing cyclist

In court this week, Hinchliffe requested to be allowed to say a few words to demonstrate the “sort of person I am”.

“I am deeply affected by what happened and I can’t even begin to think of the upset and the grief that was caused by the accident to the family behind me,” he said.

Following the jury’s verdict, Mr Chesher’s mother, in a victim personal statement, told the court that her family’s life had been damaged “beyond repair” and that her faith in humanity was “severely dented”.

She added that they were “incredibly proud” of their son and “miss him terribly”.

Simon Chesher

Simon Chesher

Pamela Stokell, who was riding with Mr Chesher on the morning of the crash, said she experiences a persistent “sense of guilt” and has since developed a fear of driving.

Addressing the cyclist’s family and friends in the gallery, Judge Gledhill said: “Mr Chesher was a decent, hardworking, family man and when he went out on this Sunday morning for a ride with his friend.

“That should have been a pleasant day, his great hobby being cycling, and it was a perfect day to go out on his bike with his friend. It ended in utter tragedy.

“I can’t do anything by way of sentence to bring him back, much as I’d dearly like to assist. I can’t do anything to help any of you.

“All I hope is that the trial that has just taken place and the sentence I am about to impose will close this dreadful chapter in all of your lives and you will be able to begin to move on.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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11 comments

Avatar
Karlt | 6 months ago
5 likes

"In court this week, Hinchliffe requested to be allowed to say a few words to demonstrate the “sort of person I am”."

Should have been met with "No. Sit down. We know exactly what sort of person you are."

Avatar
Bungle_52 | 6 months ago
6 likes

Another conviction for dangerous driving. I wonder what made this one "well below the standard of a competent and careful driver". It can't be for hitting and killing a cyclist because we all know that is just careless. May be it was jumping the red light or was it repeatedly hitting the kerb.

Avatar
bikeman01 | 6 months ago
1 like

Retired head teacher, paedophile adds callous hit and run to his list. God help our kids. What a shame we cant just execute scum like him.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to bikeman01 | 6 months ago
10 likes
bikeman01 wrote:

Retired head teacher, paedophile adds callous hit and run to his list. God help our kids. What a shame we cant just execute scum like him.

No, it's not a shame. Not executing scum like him is one of the ways that we prove that as a society we are better than scum like him.

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chrisonabike replied to bikeman01 | 6 months ago
0 likes

Sadly knowing that our society still has major issues around sexual abuse, and that there does seem to be some evidence of correlation between (specifically male) abusers and those who suffered abuse as children ... this sounds less morally advanced than when we last executed people in the UK.

(Not that I'm aware we have brilliant methods in place now for dealing with known sexual abusers of children and stopping them continuing the cycle though).

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Secret_squirrel | 6 months ago
3 likes

5 pathetic years for this scrote.  Im not usually one to say this but I hope some of his fellow inmates discover his previous offences.

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chrisonabike | 6 months ago
17 likes
Judge Michael Gledhill KC wrote:

Any humanity that you had evaporated and you calmly went on your way to London as if nothing had happened. Dreadful, dreadful behaviour. ... I can’t do anything by way of sentence to bring him back, much as I’d dearly like to assist. I can’t do anything to help any of you.

... and yet despite a conviction for Dangerous Driving (not common), it seems the judge was as good as his word - this is nowhere near the upper end of these offenses.  So not only has he not done anything to help the family, he hasn't done anything to help others either.

Note the driving off and not reporting the crime, not pleading guilty.  Also this chap is a convicted sex offender, and that being manipulative is described as a very common trait of such individuals:

Edward Hinchliffe wrote:

I am deeply affected by what happened and I can’t even begin to think of the upset and the grief that was caused by the accident to the family behind me...

... doesn't carry much weight.

Anyway - another "why no lifetime ban"?

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lifeonabike | 6 months ago
14 likes

Has fleeing the scene of a crime just become the norm in the past few years?

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brooksby | 6 months ago
15 likes
Quote:

“I can’t do anything by way of sentence to bring him back, much as I’d dearly like to assist. I can’t do anything to help any of you.

But, you know, he could perhaps have done a bit more.

Five and a half years in prison and seven years ban doesn't seem particularly harsh for taking someone's life and for behaving so f-ing dreadfully afterwards...

"Fight or flight instinct" my arse.

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the little onion replied to brooksby | 6 months ago
5 likes

Assuming good behaviour, out in 2 years 8 months. Then the seven year ban kicks in. So given he is 77 at the moment, he will be nearly 90 when he next allowed to drive. Probably best just banning for life.

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IanMK replied to the little onion | 6 months ago
2 likes

I'm not sure as he was already on license. Given that one of the conditions will be 'You must be well-behaved and be sure to not commit any crimes.' Surely he will serve a lot more time for the original offense and this will surely be taken in to account before releasing him on license again.

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