The driver involved in a fatal collision with Horsham cyclist Michael Dixon in December of last year has been convicted of causing death by careless driving at Lewes Crown Court, reports the West Sussex County Times. Zija Lushi, also known as Luigi Dannile, a 26-year-old man from Copsale, was given a 14-month jail term and a 12-month driving ban.
Dannile’s silver Citroen C2 car hit Dixon shortly before 11am while the latter was cycling along Kerves Lane in Horsham on Monday, December 8. Land and air ambulance paramedics attended but sadly the 65-year-old died at the scene.
Dannile, an Albanian, was in the UK illegally and court staff said that arrangements were being made to deport him as soon as he completes his jail term. While he was convicted of causing death by careless driving, he denied and was cleared of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving. At an earlier hearing, he had also pleaded guilty to driving while unlicensed and uninsured, although he received no separate penalty for that offence.
Dixon was a retired RAF engineer with a wife and two children. A statement from his family, read out in court, said that since retiring he had taken up flying as a hobby, had become an experienced cyclist, and worked shifts for the Samaritans.
Sentencing, Recorder George Lawson-Rogers told Dannile:
“It goes without saying that this is a tragic case, resulting in the death of a much valued husband, father, and grandfather, a man who, it is clear, still had very much to contribute, both to others and to his own self.
“You have shown yourself to be someone who has no respect for the laws of this country. You came to this country from Albania, on false documents, in breach of the laws of this country.
“A man’s life was taken because you thought your desire for a cigarette was more important than obeying the laws of this country, that you came to in search of a better life. Such is your gratitude.”