A teenager has been locked up for 14 months after he admitted crashing his motorbike into an elderly couple on their way to a market, killing a former headteacher.
Reece Parsons, aged 19, of Hawthorn Drive, Brackley, was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court today, after he earlier pleaded guilty to causing the death by careless driving.
Parsons, who is an apprentice engineer, was on his way to work on May 11, last year, at about 8.10am, when he crashed into Marcus Coleman and his wife of 52 years, Gillian Coleman.
The pair had driven into Brackley to shop at the market.
The court heard how they parked their car on Market Place, close to Lloyds’ Bank, got some cash out of an ATM machine and then tried to cross the road.
Mr and Mrs Coleman were almost across the road when Parsons’ motorbike crashed into them, killing the 79-year-old former headteacher. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mrs Coleman was airlifted to hospital and was left with a broken ankle and wrist, a damaged arm as well as bruising to much of her body.
She is still recovering from her injuries.
Parsons, who was supported by his family in court, was also airlifted to hospital in a coma with eight fractures to his skull.
The court heard the force of the impact saw Mr Coleman carried 11 metres on the Honda CBR600 bike.
The crash was witnessed by school children waiting for a bus nearby.
Mr Coleman had been a prominent member of the community, having served as the deputy headteacher at Southfield School, and as headteacher of Brackley Junior School between 1985 and 1995.
He was also an active member of the Rotary Club of Brackley.
The court heard it was impossible to know for sure whether Parsons had been speeding or not, but heard his bike was travelling a minimum of 29mph. The road has a 30mph limit.
The crash was, the court heard, something this teenager could not remember and would have to deal with him for the rest of his life.
Sentencing him today, Judge Richard Bray said: “This is a tragic case, which involves the loss of a well-loved family man and considerable injury to his wife.
“I am well aware that no sentence of mine will be felt appropriate to those involved in the case.”
Addressing the teenager, he added: “They (Mr and Mrs Coleman) should have been perfectly visible to you, the road is straight at this point, with visibility of 200 metres.
“You should have been paying particular attention at this time. It was market day and there were lots of people around, including shoppers and school children.
“It is clear to me that you were driving too fast and not paying due attention to the road.”
He sentenced Parsons to 14 months detention, disqualified him for driving for three years and ordered he must pass an extended driving test before he is allowed back on the road again.