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Lorry driver who killed cyclist eventually pleaded guilty following report commissioned by own defence team

Facing prison sentence

A Grimsby lorry driver who claimed he was blinded by the sun has pleaded guilty to causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving after initially denying the charge. Mervyn White, 64, made the decision as a result of a report commissioned by his own defence team.

The Grimsby Telegraph reports that White hit and killed 49-year-old Julian Barlow on July 27, 2014, when he drove his 18-tonne articulated lorry onto a roundabout at the junction of the M62 eastbound and A19 Selby Road at Whitley, near Goole.

The collision was filmed on a CCTV camera affixed to White’s cab. Speaking at York Crown Court, prosecuting barrister Richard Walters said the lorry driver had pulled out of a motorway slip road and onto the roundabout without stopping, his speed never dropping below 19mph. Walters added that Barlow, who was cycling round the roundabout, "had literally nowhere to go."

"Mr Barlow was wearing a red top and cycling in a completely appropriate manner, and was visible for some time," he said.

White told police he had been blinded by the sun, but Walters said it had been proven that the sun wasn't a factor.

White also tried to blame the position of his mirrors and the A-frame on his vehicle. However, he later conceded that he had been driving the same model of vehicle for the previous four or five years. The prosecution said this would have made him aware of any defects or shortcomings.

White was due to face trial after initially denying a charge of causing death by careless driving, but changed his plea to guilty after his own defence team commissioned a road-crash expert's report which showed he was clearly at fault.

Judge Paul Batty QC adjourned sentencing until September and gave White an interim driving ban until then.

"Your indication of a guilty plea was extremely late,” he said. “The case was set down for a trial before me and it was only last week that the court was informed that you would be pleading guilty."

Batty said that a custodial sentence was “very much at the forefront of the court's mind.”

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