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Van driver who caused crash which killed cyclist jailed for six years

PUBLISHED: 15:18 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:38 10 October 2018

The B1145 was closed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital roundabout after the crash. Picture: Ian Burt

The B1145 was closed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital roundabout after the crash. Picture: Ian Burt

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A van driver who caused the death of a cyclist has been jailed for six years and given a five year driving ban

The B1145 was closed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital roundabout after the crash. Picture: Ian BurtThe B1145 was closed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital roundabout after the crash. Picture: Ian Burt

Sam McDonald, 24, was driving to work in his van on the B1145 Gayton Road, Bawsey, near King’s Lynn, when he collided with cyclist Darren Orpwood, throwing him about 30 metres into the undergrowth where he smashed into a tree branch, Norwich Crown Court heard

Mr Orpwood, 35, died from multiple injuries he received in the accident.

Karl Volz, prosecuting, said that McDonald at first had not realised he had hit the cyclist but it was only when his van got a puncture that he returned to the scene and called emergency services.

Mr Volz said that there was evidence from other motorists of McDonald speeding shortly before the collision as he had also overtaken three vehicles on another stretch of road.

The court heard that since the accident, the road where the accident happened had undergone improvements including better street lighting and hedgerows cut back.

In an impact statement Mr Orpwood’s mother described how his death had devastated his family and friends who would never got over the loss and described how popular Mr Orpwood was with his colleagues at the DFS store in King’s Lynn, which closed on the day of his funeral so staff could attend.

McDonald, of Bittering, near Dereham, was convicted following a trial of causing death by dangerous driving on October 12, 2016. McDonald had denied the offence but admitted causing death by careless driving. The court heard he was of previous good character although he had 11 points on his licence for two speeding offences.

Matthew Gowen, for McDonald, said the case was a tragedy for all concerned and said that McDonald was full of remorse for what happened.

He said that he had returned to the scene and assisted others and said: “He never sought to hide what he had done.”

Mr Gowen said the collision happened in a blind spot and said there had since been improvements to the stretch of road..

Jailing McDonald, Judge Stephen Holt said he had a history of speeding and said: “I have no doubt your driving that day did create a substantial risk.”

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