Driver jailed after cyclist killed on country road in Leicestershire
A driver has been jailed for eight months after a cyclist was killed in a road accident.
School teacher Neil Thompson (54) died at the scene in Botcheston Road, Newtown Unthank, near Desford, on January 19.
William Manson (62) admitted causing death by careless driving.
Leicester Crown Court was told Manson, who had a clean driving licence, was overtaking Mr Thompson's bicycle in the face of an oncoming BMW.
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He misjudged the speed of the BMW. On realising his error, he moved his Nissan X-Trail back into his side of the road, causing Mr Thompson to be thrown over his handlebars.
Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said the tragedy happened at 5pm as science graduate Mr Thompson cycled home to Kirkby Mallory after a few drinks at the Steam Trumpet pub, in Thornton.
Manson, an electrical engineer, of Meadow Way, Melton, was travelling in the same direction after finishing work.
It was a country lane he had regularly travelled on for nine years and the conditions were dry and clear.
Shortly after passing the junction with Markfield Lane, he ended up behind Mr Thompson and followed him through a series of bends at about 15mph.
Mr Thompson was cycling in a "perfectly proper" manner, about a foot into the road from the edge, with front and rear lights.
Mr Murphy said: "As the road straightened he commenced overtaking the bicycle."
An oncoming BMW driver became concerned because of the short distance between them.
It is not known at what speed the BMW was travelling.
The BMW driver later told police he thought it was a 50 mph zone, when it was 40 mph.
A line of drivers behind the defendant could clearly see the cyclist and oncoming BMW's headlights and thought it was an odd time to overtake.
Mr Murphy said: "There were broken white lines in the road allowing overtaking, providing it was safe to do so. Manson realised too late it wasn't appropriate and there wasn't room for him and pulled back over, colliding with the bicycle."
Police and paramedics, who arrived quickly, were unable to save Mr Thompson, who formerly taught at John Cleveland College, Hinckley.
He was not wearing a cycle helmet and it was not known if one would have saved him, said Mr Murphy.
Mr Thompson had 104 mgms of alcohol in 100 mls of blood. The drink drive limit is 80.
Mr Murphy said drink did not appear to be a contributory factor as Mr Thompson was seen cycling "straight and steady".
The deceased, who lived alone, was seeking a new teaching post.
His grief-stricken brother, who lives in Sunderland, wrote a letter to the court describing the impact of his loss.
Manson was also banned from driving for two years. Sentencing, Judge Sylvia De Bertodano said: "It was carelessness to the point of dangerousness.
"A message has to go out that people who drive cars are in charge of a very dangerous machine.
"If you fail to exercise responsibility and kill someone, you must go to prison."
Paul Tubb, mitigating, said: "It's a tragedy and he had genuine heartfelt remorse.
"He led a blameless life until January this year.
"He hadn't a single point on his licence that he obtained in 1976.
"He has never married. His career and hobbies have been his life and he now faces losing his job, which involves a 50-mile round trip each day.
"He would be like a fish out of water if sent to prison."