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Diabetic driver jailed for killing cyclist on Kent A2

Driver was "significantly lax" in monitoring blood sugar ...

A driver who suffers from Type 1 diabetes has been jailed for 15 months for causing the death of a cyclist on the A2 in 2012.

Graham Epps, a 29-year-old IT worker from Canterbury, was cycling home from work when Charles Maxted, 53, hit him with his Vauxhall Meriva on the coastbound A2 at Boughton, near Gate services, just before 7:40pm on August 3 2012.

Mr Epps died at the scene.

At a hearing on September 1 2014, Maxted pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was sentenced on December 22 to 15 months in jail, and banned from driving for 20 years.

Delays while the court waited for medical reports meant it took over two years for the case to come to trial.

Maxted was initially told he would not face prosecution, but was charged after a review of the initial decision not to charge by the Crown Prosecution Service.

At an earlier hearing, Judge Statman said: “On its face, it is a highly unusual and difficult case. It would be sensible to have a complete overview of the medical evidence.”

Maxted initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea before the trial got underway.

It emerged that Maxted had been careless with his blood sugar monitoring and had suffered a medical episode while behind the wheel.

Inspector Martin Stevens from the Roads Policing Unit at Kent Police said: "Maxted, a type one diabetic for most of his adult life, had been significantly lax in his daytime testing regime. The sentence imposed should serve as a reminder to all driving licence holders that the consequences of driving when not fit all are truly devastating."

A statement from Mr Epps’ family read: ‘Our Graham's death was most certainly an avoidable one. The ripples of the events from that evening were felt all around the world.

"It is every driver’s responsibility not only to drive safely but to ensure they are fit to be behind the wheel before they drive. In our Graham's case tragically this did not happen. That evening Graham was given a life sentence, no sentence given to the driver involved would ever change the events of that evening.

"However, some things can and must change. Drivers with medical conditions have to be 100 per cent sure they are fit to drive before they get behind the wheel - something that is expected of all drivers no matter what their circumstances.

"A driving license is a privilege, not a right. We ask that all drivers respect that privilege.

"The complacency of one driver’s actions that evening could so easily have been far more severe. So many lives are deeply affected by one such event, lives that will never be the same. We want to prevent this happening to others.

"In Graham's memory, we wish to raise awareness, so that one good thing can come from this tragic event.

"We want to say publically: All drivers with diabetes must check their glucose levels before every journey and not think that it doesn’t matter or rely on that they ‘feel ok’, because it certainly does matter. The consequences of not testing resulted in the death of Graham."

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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BigglesMeister | 9 years ago

It was only the families persistence that finally brought this case to court. The initial outcome was.....

Readers should also be aware that Graham was not actually on the road when he was hit, but on a segregated cycle path at the side of the road. Everything about this case is outrageous.

superdx | 9 years ago

Monitoring right before driving doesn't really do much. Trying for very tight control of blood sugar also increases risk of hypoglycaemia.

I think doctors should be the ones to issue the final call for diabetics to have drivers licenses or not, because many diabetics have extremely poor control. Being a Type I DM myself, I'm not sympathetic to the driver at all, because it requires real effort to keep a normal BS reading.

High blood sugars are akin to driving under heavy sleep medication, and low blood sugars are akin to loss of motor control. It's very serious and diabetics need to take it seriously.

Matt eaton | 9 years ago

A tradgic case and suitable penalty but I can't help but feel that the approach of our legal system in cases such as these amounts to a pound of cure rather than a logical ounce of prevention.

Firstly, in this case in particular, it would be interesting to know if any medical profesionals were aware of Mr. Maxted's lax approach to monitoring his health. Was an opportunity for intervention missed? Should there be some additional testing for drivers who have medical conditions that might impact their ability to drive.

Secondly, imagine such a case where a driver has a medical episode, loses control and crashes into a tree or ditch. In my view the penalty should be identical as it's purely down to luck whether another person in injured in such a case and the level of negligence is the same. I suspect, however, that if charges were brought in such a case they would be likely to be much more lenient.

Airzound | 9 years ago

Sentencing is totally f**ked up.

Metaphor | 9 years ago

Whist it would seem that this driver would be better taking the bus, it seems strange that he is banned for 20 years for carelessness whereas others are banned for just 2 or 3 for an act of aggression.

harrybav | 9 years ago

Clearly a serious case, given the punishments, almost didn't even come to court.

Valuable lesson is not about insulin monitoring but about prosecution policies needing addressed.

Eebijeebi | 9 years ago

The 20 year ban means that this man will be past 70 and have to re-apply for his license (and every three years thereafter), declaring his illness etc. Seems to me like a good decision that may well mean he will never drive again.

multifrag | 9 years ago

It's funny how it took 2 years to come up with the sentence and example of this case ( there isn't even a charge to think about. If you want to kill someone, don't do it with a gun, knife, straggling... just drive him over and you either not gonna be sentenced or you will have 2 years to flee the country. ..

shay cycles replied to multifrag | 9 years ago
multifrag wrote:

If you want to kill someone, don't do it with a gun, knife, straggling.... ..

This is a sad case and an appropriate ban but I'm still getting my head around killing someone by "straggling" - got to love autocorrect!

Housecathst | 9 years ago

The sentencing is somewhat lacking, as ever when you kill with a car. but where has that driving ban come from (20 years) there are drunk drivers that kill and only get a couple of years ban. I totally support it but I really don't understand how they come up with a figure, it appears to be what side of the bed the judge got up that morning.

Paul_C | 9 years ago

""We want to say publically: All drivers with diabetes must check their glucose levels before every journey and not think that it doesn’t matter or rely on that they ‘feel ok’, because it certainly does matter. "

the above is technically incorrect, only those Diabetics who are on medication which can cause episodes of hypoglycemia have to check before and every two hours while behind the wheel.

That is those on Insulin or the drugs that cause your pancreas to over produce insulin...

anyone on just metformin or dietary control does not have to do this at all as it's practically impossible to have a hypo...

oldstrath replied to Paul_C | 9 years ago

Exactly what harm would following this advice cause?

I do wonder though why this guy gets an (appropriate ) 20 year revocation of licence, but the drunkard from Kent got only a 5 year revocation, and the killer hairdresser of Regent Street got let off completely.

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