Councillor accused in fatal collision told police he did not see rider

Ipswich Crown Court. Archant Library.

Ipswich Crown Court. Archant Library. - Credit: Archant

A Halesworth town councillor accused of causing the death of a 19-year-old motorcyclist by careless driving told police he had not seen the bike coming towards him as he made a right turn, a court has heard.

During a police interview following the collision in April last year David Thomas, who was driving a Transit van westwards in Norwich Road at Barham, said he had not seen 19-year-old Darnell Meade coming towards him when he started to turn right into Sandy Lane.

'The road was clear and he wasn't there at all,' said Thomas.

As Thomas was crossing the road he was almost in the junction when he saw the rider coming towards him and thought: 'Where the hell did you come from?

'He was wobbling and I assumed he was going fast. I thought he was going to miss me and then I heard a bang,' Thomas told police in an interview.


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Thomas, of Old Station Road, Halesworth, has denied causing Mr Meade's death by careless driving.

Ipswich Crown Court has heard Mr Meade, of Needham Market, was not a qualified rider and had been riding a Kawasaki an estimated 87-97mph when Thomas allegedly turned into his path.

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Police estimated the speed, measured as he entered a 40mph limit shortly before the collision, using CCTV.

Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting, said Mr Meade was an experienced off-road bike rider but had not passed his test to be on the road when he was fatally injured.

'The prosecution case is that if the defendant had looked properly as a careful and competent driver would, he would have seen the motorcyclist coming and he wouldn't have crossed the road in front of him,' said Miss Ascherson.

Miss Ascherson said the collision was witnessed by a friend of Mr Meade's who was travelling in a car behind him. 'He saw the white van turning to make the crossing and thought: 'This isn't right' and then saw Mr Meade hit it,' she said.

Miss Ascherson alleged Thomas would have had around six to seven seconds to see Mr Meade's motorcycle before the impact.

Thomas chose not to give evidence during the trial. Andrew Shaw, for Thomas, read three character references in which people who knew him described him as a safe driver and a man of integrity.

The court heard that in addition to being a Halesworth town councillor Thomas was involved in a number of local charities.

The trial continues.

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