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Banned driver pleads guilty to killing Bristol tandem couple

Owner of vehicle involved who was passenger at time also admits perverting course of justice

A banned motorist from Gloucestershire man who had been spotted speeding by police shortly before the vehicle he was driving struck and killed a couple riding on a tandem bicycle has admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one of driving while disqualified, reports BBC News.

Ross Simons, aged 34 and his wife Clare, 30, who had just learnt that they had been approved for IVF treatment, both died at the scene of the incident in Hanham, Bristol, on 27 January this year.

Nicholas Lovell, aged 38, was driving a Citroen Picasso car belonging to Louise Cox, 35, who was a passenger in the vehicle on the day the fatal incident took place.

Lovell failed to stop at the scene and Cox later gave the police a false name and description of the vehicle’s driver when police tracked her down. She has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Judge Neil Ford informed Cox: "The fact that I'm adjourning for pre-sentencing reports is no indication of the type of sentence you will receive. That will be a matter entirely for the sentencing judge."

Prior to the incident, a police officer had signalled for the vehicle to stop, but Lovell failed to do so. The officer lost sight of the Citroen, which then struck another vehicle before hitting and killing Mr and Mrs Simons.

Initial reports were that the police were involved in a pursuit of the vehicle, but police subsequently confirmed that was not the case. The incident was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but was later referred back to Avon & Somerset Constabulary to investigate.

Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Williams said:  "This collision was caused by Nicholas Lovell, a disqualified driver who got behind the wheel of the car and drove at speed, before losing control and striking the couple while they cycled.

"Nicholas Lovell then ran away from the scene in a bid to escape, leaving behind Louise Cox who then deliberately and callously set out to mislead police at the scene.

"The pleas entered today by both Nicholas Lovell and Louise Cox reflect that both have taken some responsibility for the deaths of Ross and Clare.

"While these pleas will never bring Ross and Clare back, I hope they go some way to providing comfort for their families."

The case has been adjourned until 22 May while pre-sentencing reports are prepared.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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6 comments

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jasecd | 10 years ago
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The maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving is fourteen years:

www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/death_by_dangerous_driving/

Based on the nature of the offence and the additional aggravating factors (fleeing the scene, driving at excessive speed, ignoring the police when commanded to stop) he should qualify for a Level 1 offence, meaning 7-14 years.

I'm waiting to see how this is reduced because he killed cyclists and not motorists or pedestrians.

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Bob's Bikes | 10 years ago
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1/ "The pleas entered today by both Nicholas Lovell and Louise Cox reflect that both have taken some responsibility for the deaths of Ross and Clare.

2/ "Nicholas Lovell then ran away from the scene in a bid to escape, leaving behind Louise Cox who then deliberately and callously set out to mislead police at the scene.

How can a supposedly intelligent person say that running away and lying are taking responsibility.

More and more I end up parroting my dad,
"hang the bastards then hang anyone who would try to defend them or their actions"

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Fatbagman | 10 years ago
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Well they pleaded guilty so in this country that means what, sentence reduced by one third? Or is it one half? At least he was charged with death by dangerous driving, it's a start. I just wonder what it would have been if the police were not involved.

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Lungsofa74yearold | 10 years ago
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What utter bastards. Hope they get a long stretch (not holding my breath on that one though  2

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paulfrank replied to Lungsofa74yearold | 10 years ago
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The couple on the tandem were only cyclists, on the road, well what did they expect; cyclists are just there to be killed by "innocent" drivers. A £200 fine and a slap on the wrist to make it look like the courts give a S**T. I won't be holding my breath for proper justice either.

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pwake | 10 years ago
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Unfeeling, inhuman scum  14

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