May 2, 2019 11.45 am This story is over 30 months old

Man who caused death of motorcyclist avoids jail

He was given a 12 month community order

A motorist’s momentary failure to pay attention caused the death of a motorcyclist, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Richard Yates was travelling to work shortly after 5.30am on November 13, 2017 when he collided with the motorcycle as he crossed over the junction of the A17 and the B1397 at Sutterton crossroads.

The motorcyclist Gary Johnson, who was also on his way to work, suffered fatal injuries as a result of the collision.

Catherine Picardo, prosecuting, said that Yates simply did not see 59-year-old Mr Johnson and drove into him.

Miss Picardo told the court: “Both were travelling to their respective places of work. The A17 was still in darkness and traffic was not particularly heavy.

“At the point of the collision at the staggered junction Yates’ vehicle was ready to cross over the junction. He waited for the car ahead of him to do so and then this collision occurred.

“The only explanation Mr Yates could give was that he had not seen the motorbike.”

Miss Picardo said passing motorists stopped to help and Mr Johnson was wrapped in a fleece and a duvet to keep him warm. Paramedics arrived and he was taken to the Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, where he was pronounced dead the same morning.

Yates was breathalysed and given a drugs test at the scene. Both produced negative results and Miss Picardo said that neither the motorbike nor the car had any defect that might have contributed to the collision.

The court was told that Mr Johnson had been a keen motorcyclist for many years and had regularly travelled along the stretch of road on his way to work. He lived at Fosdyke with his younger brother Christopher.

In a victim impact statement Christopher Johnson said: “Our lives have been turned upside down. I lived with Gary for 10 years. I don’t know what to do without him. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.

“Our lives will never be the same. Gary was always there for you if you needed him. I just miss him so much. I will never get over it. There is not a day goes by when I don’t think of him.”

Richard Yates, 46, of Tamer Road, Sleaford, admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving as a result of the incident on November 13, 2017.

Miss Picardo told the court that the incident was identified as being in the least serious category for offences of causing death by careless driving and sentencing guidelines indicated that the appropriate penalty was a community order.

Yates was given a 12 month community order with 240 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for a year.

Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, told him: “In this instance your inattention was momentary but in that moment you turned across the carriageway as Gary Johnson came towards where you were on his motorbike.

“This, as everybody has acknowledged, was momentary inattention that has had terrible and tragic consequences.”

Ian Bridge, in mitigation said that Yates was very sorry for the pain and anguish he had caused to the family of Mr Johnson.

He told the court that Yates, who had a clean driving licence and no previous convictions, would have to give up his job as a factory supervisor as a result of his driving ban.

Mr Bridge said: “He struggles to understand how he can have missed the motorcycle.”

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