An inexperienced driver who caused a fatal head-on collision when he overtook a lorry and struck an oncoming motorcycle has been jailed at Lincoln Crown Court.
Okechukwu Obike was driving along the A17 heading eastwards towards the Holdingham roundabout when he pulled out to pass the HGV having twice earlier made moves to overtake and then dropped back.
Obike, who had only been driving for three months, only saw the motorcycle as he was alongside the lorry but instead of pulling back in he accelerated and then tried to drive onto the verge.
His car struck the Ducati motorcycle throwing the rider, Paul Stanley, from his machine.
Mr Stanley, 44, had been to visit his mother and step-father and was returning to his home in the Newark area.
He died from multiple injuries he suffered as a result of the collision.
Obike, 35, of Wren Close, Orpington, Kent, admitted causing the death of Mr Stanley on the A17 at Windmill Hill by careless driving on June 24, 2015.
He was jailed for six months and banned from driving for 15 months.
Recorder Paul Mann QC, passing sentence: “Then you thought you spotted an opportunity. The road ahead, as far as you could see, was clear and you took a chance.
“You were only level with the rear axle of the trailer of the lorry when oncoming vehicles came into view. The safe course would have been for you to pull in. There was space for you to do so. Instead you put your foot down on the accelerator and hoped for the best.”
Recorder Mann added: “The sentence is not intended as a measure of the value this court places on the life of Paul Stanley. His life is priceless. There is no sentence that I can pass that for the family of the deceased will ever bring him back. My powers of sentence are limited by Parliament and by the guidelines set out by the Sentencing Council.”
Grace Hale, prosecuting, said: “It happened very quickly. The motorcyclist was thrown into the air and landed further along the carriageway.
“There were no defects with the road that could have contributed to the collision and there were no defects to the Ducati or the Mondeo that could have caused or contributed to the collision.
“The defendant pulled out to overtake the lorry and did not give himself enough time to complete the manouevre. He saw the motorcycle too late.”
Fergus Malone, for Obike, said his client, who works for a major construction company, was sorry for what happened.
“He believed the road ahead was clear and he had a sufficiently powerful car to make the manouevre and he made the decision to overtake. He misjudged it.
“His driving experience was very limited at that stage. He passed his driving test around mid-November 2014 but he didn’t get a car until the middle of March 2015.”
Mr Malone urged that a suspended jail sentence should be imposed because of the effect immediate jail would have on Obike’s family.
Obike’s wife, who is a trainee doctor, is currently expecting their second child and without Obike’s income Mr Malone said the family would not be able to afford the rent on their current property.
Mary Miller, the mother of Paul Stanley, together with her husband Terry and Mr Stanley’s partner Karen Whitesmith earlier told the court how their lives have been turned upside down by what happened and they have been left devastated.
Mrs Miller said: “On Wednesday June 24, 2015 my life and my family’s lives changed forever.
“I have gone from a happy, always smiling person to someone who feels empty except for unbearable pain.
“Paul was an excellent driver and did nothing wrong.”
Ms Whitesmith told how she and Paul planned to spend the rest of their lives together.
“He was a loving, kind, caring, very intelligent, very handsome, thoughtful and supportive man.
“My life has changed forever. We had planned how we were going to grow old together.
“This should never have happened. He was too young with so much life ahead of him.
“It wasn’t Paul’s fault. The man who drove the car will never understand the pain my family have gone through. He has never said sorry. He continues living and my man is dead. I can never forgive him.”