Driver who caused death of cyclist in Daventry given suspended prison sentence

A mechanic from Daventry who caused the death of a cyclist after crashing into him during a 'test drive' of a high performance car has avoided a jail sentence.

Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:09 pm
A cyclist died after a crash on Prospect Way, Daventry
A cyclist died after a crash on Prospect Way, Daventry

Aaron Leggett, aged 25, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving after a fatal crash in Prospect Way, Daventry on May 7 last year.

Northampton Crown Court heard Leggett had been driving a Nissan Skyline vehicle he had been repairing at the garage where he worked as a mechanic.

Jonathan Straw, prosecuting, said Leggett had been “test driving” the high performance car.

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Mr Straw said Dumitru Gonta, aged 28, a Moldovan national left work at Ayrshire Metals just before 4pm and attempted to cycle across Prospect Way.

CCTV stills shown in court revealed Mr Gonta managed to get more than halfway across the road before he was struck by Leggett’s vehicle.

Analysis of the footage revealed Leggett was travelling at 48 mph shortly before the crash and 43 mph at the point of impact. The speed limit on the road is 30 mph.

Mr Gonta was airlifted to hospital but died 11 days later due to the serious injuries to his neck and spine.

A taxi driver, who was travelling behind Leggett’s vehicle shortly before the crash, said the vehicle had accelerated “rapidly” away from the roundabout.

The taxi driver said: “The engine was revving and smoke was coming out of the exhaust. I thought to myself ‘What an idiot’”

After the crash, the taxi driver said he remarked to Leggett “you were speeding bud”.

In his police interview Leggett, of Timken way, Daventry, told officers he believed he had been travelling at or around 30mph.

However, he pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving on Monday.

Ian Bridge, mitigating, said his client was “deeply sorry” for causing the fatal crash and was tormented by what he had done.

His Honour Judge Michael Fowler, sentencing, said he believed Leggett would have been aware of what speed he was travelling.

Judge Fowler said Mr Gonta had made the fatal decision to proceed after he had stopped in the middle of the road and saw Leggett’s vehicle approaching at speed.

Leggett was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years. He must complete 200 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £600. He has been banned from driving for 18 months.