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Lorry driver pleads guilty to killing Derbyshire cyclist

Richard Smith will be sentenced next month for September 2019 crash that claimed life of David Bates

A lorry driver has pleaded guilty to causing the death of a Derbyshire cyclist through careless driving.

David Bates, aged 71, was killed when he was struck by a Volvo lorry driven by Richard Smith on 10 September 2019 on the A515 between Clifton and Ashbourne.

Smith, from Middleton-by-Wirksworth, pleaded not guilty at a hearing at Derby Crown Court in October 2019 to causing the cyclist’s death by dangerous driving.

In a subsequent hearing last week, Smith pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving after the Crown Prosecution Service said it would accept his plea, reports the Derbyshire Telegraph.

In mitigation Tim Pole, defending Smith, asked for the sentencing hearing to be adjourned to allow time for a report to be compiled into what he described as his client’s “significant mental health issues.”

Adjourning sentencing until next month, Judge Jonathan Bennett told Smith: “You have pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and you will get substantial credit.

“Clearly, I want to know about your mental health issues and so the diversion team are going to prepare a report.

“You will be back in court on June 23 for sentence and you are going to be disqualified from driving for a long time so I am imposing an interim disqualification from today.

“If you have driven here, you can’t drive back and all [sentencing] options remain open,” the judge added.

“Until that date I am handing you bail.”

Following his death, Mr Smith’s family described the retired builder as someone who was “young at heart” and who “loved life,” with “a passion for cycling and motorbikes,” as well as for the canaries he kept.

They added that he was a “lovely man who was loved by everyone who knew him and whose death has left a big hole in the lives of his loved ones.”

Simon joined 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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