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Motorcyclist from Fosdyke died in A17 Sutterton collision after 'momentary inattention' of another driver had 'terrible and tragic consequences', judge says

The death of a motorcyclist from Fosdyke was due to a motorist’s momentary failure to pay attention, a court has been told.

Gary Johnson (59), was on his way to work when he suffered fatal injuries as a result of a collision with a car driven by Richard Yates.

A judge at Lincoln Crown Court on Wednesday heard how Yates (46), of Tamer Road, Sleaford, was travelling to work shortly after 5.30 am when he collided with Mr Johnson's motorcycle as he crossed over the A17/B1397 junction in Sutterton.

Report from Lincoln Crown Court.
Report from Lincoln Crown Court.

Catherine Picardo, prosecuting, said that Yates simply did not see Mr Johnson and drove into him on Monday, November 13, 2017.

Miss Picardo said: "Both motorists were travelling to their respective places of work while the A17 was still in darkness and traffic was not particularly heavy.

"At the point of the collision at the staggered junction, Yates’ vehicle was ready to cross over the junction.

Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.

"He waited for the car ahead of him to do so and then this collision occurred.

"The only explanation Yates could give was that he had not seen the motorbike."

Miss Picardo added that passing motorists stopped to help and Mr Johnson was wrapped in a fleece and duvet to keep him warm.

Court report.
Court report.

Paramedics arrived and he was taken to Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, where he was pronounced dead the same morning.

Yates was breathalysed and given a drugs test at the scene, both of which produced negative results.

Miss Picardo said that neither the motorbike nor the car had any defect that might have contributed to the collision.

The court was also told that Mr Johnson had been a keen motorcyclist for many years and had regularly travelled along the stretch of road on his way to work.

Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.

He lived in Fosdyke with his younger brother Christopher who, in a victim impact statement, Johnson said: "Our lives have been turned upside down.

"I lived with Gary for ten years and I don’t know what to do without him.

"I wouldn’t wish this on anybody and our lives will never be the same.

"Gary was always there for you if you needed him and I just miss him so much.

"I will never get over it and there is not a day goes by when I don’t think of him."

Yates admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving and was given a 12-month community order, requiring him to do 240 hours of unpaid work.

Lincoln Crown Court news.
Lincoln Crown Court news.

He was also banned from driving for a year after Miss Picardo explained that the incident was identified as being in the least serious category for offences of causing death by careless driving.

Therefore, sentencing guidelines indicated that the appropriate penalty was a community order.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Easteal told Yates: "In this instance your inattention was momentary.

"But in that moment, you turned across the carriageway as Gary Johnson came towards where you were on his motorbike.

"This, as everybody has acknowledged, was momentary inattention that has had terrible and tragic consequences."

Court news.
Court news.

Ian Bridge, in mitigation, said that Yates was very sorry for the pain and anguish he had caused to the family of Mr Johnson.

"He struggles to understand how he could have missed the motorcycle," Mr Bridge said.

The court was also told that Yates, who had a clean driving licence and no previous convictions, would have to give up his job as a factory supervisor as a result of his driving ban.

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