Long-distance lorry driver jailed over death of Basil Clarke (26/09/09)
A lorry driver who caused the death of a 65-year-old cyclist has been jailed for 16 months.
Karel Sedivy failed to see Basil Clarke and collided with him while he was on his regular morning bike ride.
The accident happened on the southbound carriageway of the A1 at Tickencote, in Rutland, near the turning to Great Casterton.
Sedivy (51), of the Czech Republic, who was also banned from driving for two years, admitted causing death by driving dangerously on September 26 last year.
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Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court that Mr Clarke, of Geeston, near Ketton, Rutland, would typically cycle for an hour.
He said: “His wife, Jane, was preparing breakfast, but sadly he never returned home.”
He said that Sedivy, travelling at 54mph in his left-hand drive articulated lorry in the same direction, should have seen Mr Clarke from 250 metres.
Other motorists said they had a good view of the cyclist.
It was 8.30am and the road conditions were dry.
Sedivy, on realising he had collided with “something” stopped further down, as by-passers assisted the injured man on the verge.
The defendant was in shock when the police arrived.
Although he claimed to have seen the cyclist at the last minute, Mr Janes said it did not fit the evidence of the tachograph, that showed no change in speed and no braking or swerving.
He said: “In reality, the evidence points to the fact he never saw him until the vehicle collided with him.
“Inattention is the element of dangerousness in this case.”
The court heard that Sedivy, a grandfather who has no previous convictions and a clean driving licence in his own country and Europe, routinely covers more than 100,000 miles a year and has been a lorry driver for 20 years.
He delivered his load, had taken sufficient rest and was making his way back to Dover docks when the tragedy happened.
Eugene Hickey, in mitigation, said: “He was either distracted or simply switched off, with tragic consequences. It wasn’t persistent bad driving.
“It straddles the charges of death by dangerous and death by careless driving.”
He willingly and voluntarily returned to the UK to face his sentence.
Judge Charles Wide QC said: “There is no excuse for not having seen Mr Clarke.
“No sentence I pass can bring him back, nor can it be compared with the value of a life and it’s not intended to.”
Mr Clarke, a stonemason, died from internal injuries in hospital, with his wife by his side.
Known as Bas, he was popular among Leicestershire’s cycling fraternity and had won numerous trophies during a riding career spanning 50 years.
He was also a keen duck breeder, keeping about 80 species of ornamental waterfowl.
Speaking after the sentencing, Mrs Clarke, 63, said she had shared “32 extremely happy years” with her husband.
“Bas was a one off, he was an amazing person and an amazing husband,” she said.
“He achieved so much in his life and was always cheerful and chirpy and had a great sense of humour.”
Speaking about the sentence, she said: “It’s not fair but then life’s not fair. I don’t think he deserved a longer sentence, he stopped, he’s come back from his home country every time he’s been required to and he’s got a clean driving record.”