February 11, 2021 10.14 am This story is over 17 months old

Woman avoids jail as family pay tribute after biker’s death

She was on a hands-free phone call at the time

A woman has been sentenced for causing the death of a motorcyclist near Newark during a hands-free telephone call.

John Aves, 42, died as he travelled on the A46 near Flintham, near Newark, during the evening of Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

He was hit from behind by a car, which was driven by 40-year-old Natasha Labidi, and knocked to the ground.

Labidi saw Mr Aves at the last second and swerved to the outside lane, but was unable to avoid a collision that sent the victim tumbling into the carriageway.

Police believe he may then have been hit by another car. He was given first aid at the scene, but died around two hours later in hospital.

Labidi was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving last month. She appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court for sentencing on Wednesday, February 10.

Labidi, of Anson Road, Newton, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.

She was also disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.

In a statement released ahead of the sentencing, Mr Aves’ family said: “John was the youngest of three sons and losing him has left a part of all our hearts missing forever. He meant the world to us all, and that can never be replaced. We think about him every day and miss him so much.

“We can only begin to imagine what John went through on that night. We think about this all the time. The pain he must have been in – he must have been so frightened it breaks our hearts every time we think about that frightful night. No one deserves to die in this way, especially not our John.

“It is a horrible nightmare that we now live as you never expect your children to go first, and certainly not in such a horrible way.

“We will never see John get married, nor have children of his own. We cannot help but be angry that someone’s actions have taken this from us. John was at a stage of getting his life together when this happened. He had a good job and a girlfriend and he deserved happiness, but it was all taken from him so soon.

“We think about him all the time. This will not lessen in time, it will be this way forever. The only consolation we take from that awful night is that he was not alone and was surrounded by some lovely people who cared for him to the best of their abilities and going above and beyond – including one individual travelling with him in the ambulance to the hospital. For that we are thankful and will be forever grateful.”

Case Investigator Louise Melbourne, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Whilst speaking hands free is not in itself against the law, using a phone in this way can have an effect on concentration levels and can distract attention away from the road.

“I hope that people who read about this tragic case will think about their own mobile phone use and adjust their behaviour accordingly. Making or taking a phone call when driving simply isn’t worth the risk. The consequences, as this case demonstrates, can be devastating for everyone involved.”

Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire Police is taking part in a national campaign, which started on February 8, to target drivers who use their mobile phones when driving. It sees fines for the offence increase to £200, as well as drivers being given six points on their licence.