Ex-wife planned to tell rider she loved him day after crash

Royston Pratt, centre
Royston Pratt, centre
Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich

Senior police officer hits out at ‘irresponsible’ drivers after 320 thefts from vehicles

  • Pensioner had turned right in ‘outright failure’ to see motorcyclist
  • Royston Pratt, 90, handed 16-week suspended jail term by district judge
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TEARFUL tributes have been paid to a motorcyclist by his ex-wife as she told a court how her children’s lives had ‘disintegrated’ following his death.

Jane McQueen, speaking at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, said police arrived to tell her of Robert McQueen’s death on the day she hoped to tell him she loved him.

I watched our children’s live disintegrate before my eyes

Jane McQueen

Mr McQueen, 37, of Port Solent, was riding a Triumph when he was hit by Royston Pratt, 90, in a borrowed green Land Rover as Pratt went to pick up a friend from a hunt.

Pratt, of Hundred Acres, Wickham, turned right and crashed into Mr McQueen at the Staplescross crossroads on the B2177 on December 22 last year at about 1.30pm.

He admitted causing death by careless driving and was handed an 18-week prison sentence suspended for a year and was banned for five years.

Mrs McQueen, 40, said her ex-husband had texted her saying he loved her – she intended to tell him the same to his face at their daughter’s 11th birthday on December 23.

She told the court: ‘I never got the chance to and he died without knowing.’

She added: ‘The events of December 22 have changed our family completely and forever.’

She added that on her daughter’s birthday she had to tell her of her father’s death.

She said: ‘Instead of me wishing her a happy birthday I had to tell her her daddy had been involved in an accident while out on his bike the previous day, and that he wouldn’t be coming over for her birthday as he hadn’t survived.

‘I watched our children’s lives disintegrate before my eyes.’

Mrs McQueen and her four children planted a memorial tree in their back garden.

‘It breaks my heart every time I watch them go out there and see them sitting there,’ Mrs McQueen added.

In tribute she said: ‘He was a kind, loving and extremely intelligent man. He had a wonderful smile and personality that we will never forget.’

Mr McQueen is survived by three daughters, aged 19, 11, and 14, and a son, five, at the time of the crash.

His middle sister Sharon Wilshere also made a moving impact statement in court.

She told how her family wants to see changes to over-70s drivers’ self-assessment. They currently have to tell DVLA of any medical condition every three years when re-applying for their licence.

There was no evidence Pratt had any sight problems, alcohol in his blood or that he was distracted by a mobile phone.

Mrs Wilshere said of her brother: ‘He was the light that lit up the room.

‘This Boxing Day we could barely speak to each other.’

The court heard Mr McQueen’s children are to undergo counselling from a child bereavement charity.

District Judge Anne Arnold said: ‘This was not in my opinion a case of momentary inattention, rather an outright failure to see a motorcyclist – a vulnerable road user as defined by the sentencing guidelines.’

The bike’s headlights were on and police tests showed he would have been seen.

Lucy Linington, defending, said the Land Rover was in first gear when it stopped.

Pratt was heard to say shortly after the crash he had not seen Mr McQueen.

Pratt must complete an extended re-test to get his licence back. He must pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.