5 Men jailed for death of cyclist in Orpington (10/08)
Five men, including one from south east London, have been jailed for the manslaughter of a bank worker who was thrown from his bicycle and killed as they raced along a residential road.
Married father-of-two Graham Thwaites, 51, was just yards from his doorstep when he was knocked into the air by a Mitsubishi Shogun driven by Andrew Carlisle.
It careered out of control after being shunted by a Vauxhall Vectra which was “jostling” with it along a leafy road in Orpington, Kent. Mr Thwaites, an administrator at Lloyds TSB headquarters in the City, suffered “catastrophic” injuries after being thrown against the car before hitting a garden wall in September 2008.
He was riding back from Petts Wood railway station to the home where he had lived with wife Hazel for 23 years when he was struck by Carlisle’s vehicle. The men were all found guilty of manslaughter last month at the Old Bailey.
Carlisle, 35, of Mottingham, was jailed for 11 years and banned from driving for six years. Shane Webb, 24, of Dartford, Kent, who was driving the Vectra, was jailed for 12 years and banned for three years.
Vectra passengers, Webb’s cousin George Webb, 27, of Orpington, and William Dennard, 24, of Darenth, Kent, were jailed for six years. Third passenger David Cook, 24, of Orpington, was jailed for five and a half years. They were all banned from driving for three years.
The court heard that all the defendants had convictions for motoring offences and dishonesty.
The Common Serjeant of London, Judge Brian Barker, said: “Both of you drivers have shown a complete disregard to the laws of the land and the rights of sensible road users. It was deliberate, selfish behaviour that led to catastrophic results.”
Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said there was animosity between the occupants of the two cars – which Carlisle later told police was caused by a dispute over the price of a rottweiler puppy.
Mr Heywood said: “These five men played out the grievances between themselves on the public highway in two powerful motor vehicles. The first car, leaving the road, hit the cyclist from behind, causing him to be thrown up on to the bonnet, over the windscreen and to hit the roof of the car, and then to be projected forwards against a garden wall.”
It is encouraging that finally the courts are delivering sensible sentences in cases of driving that has led to the death of a cyclist. Too often CTC sees negiglible sentences given to drivers who through dangerous behaviour have led to the death of another
It is still absurd, however, that the driving bans handed down to these men expire prior to their sentences – driving bans should run at least through the length of the sentence and for the designated period after they have emerged from jail.