Cleared of blame for collision itself

One of the motorists involved in the collision that killed cyclist Declan Shea in Essex last year has been banned from driving and handed a suspended jail sentence for driving home from the scene with a broken windscreen.

Shea was cycling on Harwich Road in Elmstead towards the B1029 in Great Bromley on September 16, just after 8pm, when he was hit from behind. He was then hit by another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction and while police and paramedics attended, he died at the scene.

Gazette News reports that one of the motorists involved, Terence Smith, was cleared of any blame in relation to Shea’s death because it was proven it would have been impossible to have seen him.

After the crash, the 72-year-old drove his car home. It had sustained considerable damage to the windscreen and front bumper. He admitted a dangerous driving charge which related to the condition of the car.

Pictures shown in court revealed he would not have been able to see fully out of the broken windscreen and he was handed a one month suspended jail sentence and a 12-month driving ban.

Matthew Swash mitigating, said: “It was only yesterday Mr Smith was told he was not at fault at all for the cyclist’s death even though we have had 13 months of being constantly in contact with the Crown Prosecution Service and the police.

“He cannot sleep at night thinking about what he could have done better. His wife suffers from dementia – they have been married 48 years – so who does he think of when he think he will be in trouble? His wife.

“He had stopped at the scene but he then goes home, sees his wife and tells her something dreadful has happened.

“They were only away for five minutes because he lives just down the road. He has closed his business as a result of this and wants to move away from the area – he is reminded constantly of this.

“The only reason he has been charged with dangerous driving is because the windscreen is in such a state of disrepair. There is no doubt he was suffering with shock at the time.

“He arrives back at the scene and is there before the police and says he is the one responsible for this. This is the single most difficult thing he has had to face in his life.”

Campaigners have previously raised concerns about a blackspot near to where Shea was hit. They have been calling for the speed limit to be cut to 30mph.

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