A 90-YEAR-OLD driver has been handed a suspended jail term after he admitted killing a motorcyclist.
Royston Pratt appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court today where District Judge Anne Arnold imposed a 16-week term suspended for a year.
This was not in my opinion a case of momentary inattention, rather an outright failure to see a motorcyclistDistrict Judge Anne Arnold
He was also banned from driving for five years.
Pratt, of Hundred Acres, Wickham, last month admitted causing the death of Robert McQueen, 37, by driving without due care and attention.
Mr McQueen, of Port Solent, was riding a Triump motorbike when Pratt crashed into him in a borrowed green Land Rover, at around 1.30pm on December 22 last year, at the B2177 at Staplecross crossroads.
Mrs Arnold said: ‘This is a tragic case and concerns a road traffic accident in which Robert David McQueen very sadly lost his life shortly before Christmas last year, on December 22, when he was riding his motorcycle.
‘His death was caused by Royston Pratt, who was driving a Land Rover on that day and who performed a right hand turn into the path of Mr McQueen, who had right of way.
‘Mr Pratt’s immediate reaction at the scene was that he simply never saw Mr McQueen.’
Pratt must take a test of competence to drive to obtain a licence after the ban.
The court heard victim impact statements, telling how Mr McQueen’s four children, former wife and family have been devastated by his death.
Lucy Linington, defending, said at the time the Land Rover came to a stop it was still in first gear.
She said: ‘He looks, he sees there’s nothing coming, he makes the right hand turn and at that time the tragic collision occurs.’
The court heard Pratt will now rely on friends and neighbours to take him to visit his wife in a nursing home.
Pratt has no previous convictions.
Both Ms Linington and prosecutor Andrew Newman said Pratt had shown momentary inattention.
But judge Mrs 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 – whom testing has shown would have been readily identifiable, albeit perhaps for a very short period of time.’
In a statement released after the hearing, Sergeant Rob Heard, Hampshire Police’s road safety sergeant, said older drivers’ reactions may become slower and the Older Drivers Forum can help.
He said: ‘The forum works with its partners to give advice and support to older drivers about driving safely for longer.
‘As we get older for some of us our reactions may become slower, we may start to suffer from age related frailty or an illness which may affect how we drive and how safe we are on the road.’
For more information visit olderdriversforum.com