Two feuding drivers who blamed each other for a crash that resulted in the death of a cyclist have been told by a judge that they face imprisonment after both were found guilty today of causing death by dangerous driving.
A jury took less than three hours at Teesside Crown Court to return guilty verdicts against Paige Robinson, aged 24 and from Billingham and David Ferry, 47 and from Redcar, reports the Northern Echo.
The court heard that 49-year-old cyclist Graham Pattison, from Hartlepool, was thrown 40 metres when Robinson, driving a Ford Fiesta, crashed into the back of him at 70mph on the A689 between Wynyard and Sedgefield on 24 July 2020.
Shortly beforehand, she had changed lanes in front of former army officer Ferry, who was driving an Audi TT. She said that Ferry had been gesticulating at her and swerved towards her car, causing her to hit Mr Pattison, whom she claimed she had not seen.
Ferry however insisted that Robinson and her boyfriend, who was in the passenger seat of her car, had been making gestures at him and that she was tailgating him prior to the crash, which left Mr Pattison with injuries including a broken spine.
Giving evidence at the trial, witness Trevor Smith, who had been driving behind Robinson and Ferry, said: “The white car was quite close to the black car - they were side by side. They seemed to be matching each other.
“The white car swerved to the left and it was a ‘speed wobble’ as if she was trying to get the car under control. The brake lights went on at that point.
“There was a cyclist in front of the white car. I can remember saying to my wife – ‘he’s going to get hit’. I was referring to the cyclist.
“I was braking very hard; I was worried the cyclist might land in front of my car.
“At first I thought the cyclist was going to go under the vehicle, but instead he bounced up onto the bonnet, onto the windscreen then quite high into the air and into the verge,” he added.
Judge Jonathan Carroll told Robinson and Ferry that imprisonment was “inevitable” for both of them.
“You have both been convicted of causing [the death] of Mr Pattison by dangerous driving,” he said. “The sentence in both of your cases will be inevitable, it will be a custodial sentence. The only question is how long that sentence ought to be having regards to the circumstances of the case.
“As neither of you have any previous convictions, particularly no driving convictions, I will order a pre-sentence report.
“Be under no illusions whatsoever, make your arrangements between now and June 1 when you come back for sentence, on the expectation of an inevitable custodial sentence.
“Bail is granted on condition that you co-operate with the probation service in the preparation of the pre-sentence report,” the judge added.
Speaking after the jury returned the guilty verdicts, Sergeant Catherine Iley of Cleveland Police commented: “The offenders blamed each other for the collision which took Mr Pattison’s life but, as the court heard, their actions had catastrophic consequences.
“Myself and my team would like to thank all those involved in assisting at the scene, in what were extremely harrowing circumstances.”
She added: “Mr Pattison was a beloved husband, father and son and our thoughts are with his family and friends today.”
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.