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Motorist whose careless driving caused motorcyclist’s death is spared jail

Ryan Stobart outside Carlisle Crown Court

A MOTORIST whose careless driving killed a “loving, caring and devoted” family man has been spared immediate prison.

Carlisle Crown Court heard today (MON) how a tragic road smash occurred at Goose Green crossroads just after 8am on November 2 in 2017.

Mercedes-Benz car driver Ryan Stobart, 24, was travelling along the B5305 near Welton when, while trying to turn right towards Dalston, he failed to spot oncoming motorcyclist David Holden. In the resulting crash, Mr Holden – who had celebrated his 54th birthday the day before – was “catapulted” into the air and killed almost instantly.

A police collision investigator concluded several factors caused the collision: Stobart failed to look at the road ahead for oncoming vehicles; his view was partially blocked by a van travelling in front of him; and he didn’t see the dark coloured bike – which had dipped headlights – against a backdrop of hedgerows.

Stobart, of Hesket-new-Market, admitted causing death by careless driving.

In an impact statement, Mr Holden’s family described him as a “unique, talented, gifted”, and an “inspiration”. Speaking of a “gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, life-destroying” situation, they stated: “Today we feel pain and anger and it shows in our eyes because of the emotions and upset we feel at what one person’s careless actions have done to our family.”

Stobart, a man without previous convictions, told police he didn’t see or hear the bike before turning. Tom Gent, defending, said Stobart was described by others as “thoughtful, kind, conscientious and hard-working”. He was “deeply sorry”, said Mr Gent, who added: “The consequences of his actions that morning will haunt him always.”

After hearing all submissions, Judge James Adkin suspended an eight-month jail term for two years. Stobart must complete 250 hours’ unpaid work and a 12-month driving ban. “In passing sentence,” said the judge, “I can’t significantly reduce the grief and hurt that David Holden’s family feel.”

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