A driver who knocked a Ceredigion councillor off his bike near Aberystwyth, causing him to be hit and killed by another motorist, has been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence and 12-month driving ban. Lowri Powell denied causing Paul James’ death by careless driving and said she had been dazzled by low sun. She was told by the judge that she had been "generally unattentive to the road conditions" and driving “unquestionably too fast” despite being within the speed limit.
On April 11, 2019, James was out training for a charity bike ride. He was riding uphill towards a bend between Waun Fawr and Comins Cochon on the A487 near Aberystwyth, when he was hit by the wing mirror of Powell’s car.
He fell from his bike and was then hit by Christopher Jones who was driving behind.
Powell said she had lowered the car’s sun visor, slowed down and was concentrating on the road ahead.
She said she had done "absolutely nothing wrong" and there had been "nothing she could have done differently."
Asked how she had failed to see James, she replied: “The lighting coming through the trees and foliage on the side had created a flickering effect and I believe the high visibility jacket blended in with that.”
Jones told the court he had “tenths of a second” to react after spotting James’ jacket as he lay on the ground.
Jones was found not guilty, but after five hours of deliberations, Powell was convicted.
Wales Online reports that Judge Geraint Walters said he was satisfied that James "was there to be seen been by an attentive, careful and undistracted driver.”
He said Powell’s speed, which had been estimated at 52mph, had been "unquestionably too fast" for the road and weather conditions, despite the 60mph limit on that stretch.
"National speed limits are not a target," he said.
Walters added that death by careless driving cases were difficult to sentence as while the harm caused was severe, culpability was low as the court was dealing with carelessness rather than intent.
Virginia Hayton, defending Powell, said her client was "deeply sorry for her involvement," but knew nothing she could say would mitigate the loss.
She added that Powell felt "genuine remorse" and would have to live with this for the rest of her life.