Cyclist killed after the sun blinded driver

A PENSIONER wept in the dock as she was given a 12-month community order after pleading guilty to causing the death of a University of Portsmouth student by careless driving.

Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:29 pm
Jeanette Smith

Jeannette Smith, 69, was spared jail in Portsmouth Magistrates Court despite causing the death of 20-year-old student William Houghton.

Smith’s white Citroen C3 collided with Mr Houghton’s bike shortly after 11.15am on January 28 with the student then dying in hospital as a result of his injuries the next day.

The retiree, of Little Corner, Denmead said that she was blinded by the sun before the collision and that she had not seen the aspiring professional cyclist.

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William Houghton

Matthew Farmer, defending Smith said: ‘She has told me that her vision just went black at the time that she hit the cyclist.

‘She is a lady of good character and is absolutely devastated about what happened.

‘It is a very difficult section of road and she says that she was blinded by the sun.

‘She has held her hands up and says that she never will be the same again.

William Houghton

A statement from William’s father, Richard, was read out during the hearing.

He said: ‘William was very much at the centre of our lives and we are still now coming to terms with what happened.

‘Now for us it is like all we are seeing is black and white and that there is a huge Will-shaped hole in our lives.

‘The 20 years he spent with us were far too short and we are grateful that he lived them to the full.’

As part of Smith’s community order, she will carry out 60 hours of unpaid work and is disqualified from driving for 12 months.

She was also ordered to pay a total of £165 in fines.

Following the sentencing, Richard and his wife Liz said: ‘We welcome Mrs Smith’s decision to plead guilty to death by careless driving and hope that Will’s tragic death will act as a reminder to all drivers that they must be alert to cyclists at all times.’

PC Lucy Hawkins, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit added: ‘This was a tragic incident which has had a devastating impact on William’s family.

She reminded drivers to give the road their complete attention all the time.