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Pensioner jailed for causing death of elderly Keswick cyclist by careless driving

Andrew Lanham outside Carlisle Crown Court

A MAN whose careless driving killed a cyclist who died more than six months after being knocked off his bike has been jailed.

Andrew Paul Lanham was behind the wheel of a Ford Focus when he approached a Keswick-based group of riders on the narrow, single-track C3031 between Matterdale and Greystoke on February 28 last year.

Lanham, 71, overtook two female cyclists, one of whom had to pull off the road to let him past. His Focus horn was then heard sounding “four to five times” before he drove past helmet-wearing Mr Lee as he pedalled an electric bike. Another female cyclist, a GP, told police Mr Lee did not deviate from his straight riding line, but was knocked off his bike as Lanham went by.

Mr Lee received basic life support within seconds from the two females. He was taken to hospital, but died on September 14 last year, aged 81, from complications which flowed from the serious, multiple collision injuries.

Lanham denied two charges, and went on trial at Carlisle Crown Court earlier this week. He was acquitted of causing death by dangerous driving, but convicted of causing death by careless driving.

Lanham told jurors he thought it was safe to overtake, but accepted in evidence: “I think it was an error of judgement.”

Retired tree surgeon Lanham, who expressed “sincere remorse”, was jailed for 12 months this morning (WED) by Mr Justice William Davis, who also imposed an 18-month driving ban.

Mr Justice Davis told Lanham: “You took a risk. You overtook those cyclists one by one when you were driving far too close to them.” Referring to Mr Lee, he added: “The sentence I have to impose should be taken as any reflection of the value of his life.”

In a moving victim impact statement, Mr Lee’s 75-year-old widow, Doreen, described the retired barber as “considerate, kind, loving, optimistic and someone who had a real zest for life”, adding: “He was my soul mate.”

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