A DRIVER accused of causing a fatal crash by ‘cutting up’ a motorbike rider has said: ‘I didn’t see a motorcyclist.’
Giving evidence at Portsmouth Crown Court, Ben Challinor, 33, insisted he had not seen Mark Copley riding a black Triumph on the A27.
Challinor denies causing death by careless driving after Mr Copley crashed into a central reservation on the A27 eastbound and died 10 days later in hospital.
The prosecution accuses Challinor of forcing 51-year-old Mr Copley into taking evasive action and crashing into the central reservation after cutting him up in lane three, having used the slip road at the Portsbridge Roundabout to enter the A27.
Yesterday prosecutor Richard Tutt asked the defendant, of Battins Way, Havant, if he had a specific memory of looking into his rear view mirror and over his shoulder when he moved into the fast lane at about midday.
Challinor said he did not initially see a motorcyclist, insisting that as soon as he saw Mr Copley on the ground in his rear view mirror, he slowed down. He said: 'I don't know how much I slowed down but I did slow down. I was going at the same speed I was doing in lane three until I saw the motorcyclist.’
Challinor’s partner Emma Holland was in the car with him on April 30 last year.
Mr Tutt asked her if Challinor moved from the Portsbridge Roundabout slip road on to the A27 and across the three lanes quickly.
Ms Holland, who was in her white Kia Sportage with Challinor, said: ‘No, it was very gradual. We were in each lane for a couple of minutes at a time, at a guess. I wasn't particularly paying attention to what Ben was doing but I naturally felt the movement of the car going into the different lanes. The car was building up to about 60 miles per hour in lane two.’
Ms Holland said she did ‘not particularly’ pay full attention to her partner’s driving. She said she saw his head 'moving and wobbling around' to check when moving lane.
She added: 'I did clock Ben looking into his rear view mirror and he said "oh".
'I glimpsed around to see traffic slowing down. I saw a motorbike in the third lane some distance away, about 200 metres I suppose. I think Ben was unsure as to what had happened or why the bike was on the ground, I think he thought, "was that me?".’
They both went to Havant police station shortly after.