A judge has told a lorry driver that a cyclist’s death was, “the almost inevitable culmination of a long course of reckless behaviour with a very large lorry in your charge." Co-op delivery driver William Magee was jailed for three years at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday for causing the death of Barbara Phipps by careless driving on Saturday, February 13 last year.
Magee denied the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving and this was accepted by the prosecution.
Essex Live reports that Magee was criticised by Judge Martin Joy for not using on-board cameras or for using his wing mirrors correctly.
Joy was also highly critical of the fact that Magee had parked on double yellow lines, on the wrong side of the road, facing the wrong way, close to a junction.
Magee pulled away from the Co-op store in Teynham just after 10am, without indicating, moving diagonally across the carriageway and into Phipps on her bike.
The 73-year-old was dragged underneath the HGV's rear axle and run over. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Magee had driven off, unaware of what had happened, and only stopped some minutes later when staff at his distribution centre in Essex phoned him.
The charge of failing to stop was not proceeded with as it was said to have been 'perfectly reasonable' that due to the size of the lorry, Magee would not have realised what had happened.
Prosecutor Peter Forbes said that Phipps had been riding in a 'perfectly safe and proper manner', close to the kerb, and was blameless for what took place.
He said she would have been visible in the lorry's nearside mirrors and on the CCTV safety system. Use of the latter was not a legal requirement and Magee had described it as 'one of those annoying things' of no use to him.
Addressing Magee, the judge said: "This was a terrible and irresponsible course of conduct and led to the unnecessary death of a road user and you behaved irresponsibly from the moment you arrived in Teynham.
"There has to be a clear and consistent message that to drive a vehicle, especially a lorry, in such an irresponsible way, must be severely punished. This was not a momentary lapse of attention. Your pulling away and into Mrs Phipps was reckless and your conduct after the collision was extremely surprising.
"It was the almost inevitable culmination of a long course of reckless behaviour with a very large lorry in your charge."
As well as the jail sentence, Magee was banned from driving for five-and-a-half years.