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Case against Essex motorist accused of causing death by careless driving is dropped

PUBLISHED: 15:53 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 02 July 2018

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

A motorist accused of causing the death of a 20-year-old motorcyclist by careless driving following a crash in Stanway near Colchester has been cleared after the prosecution decided to drop the case against him.

Gavin Whitlock, 26, of Hornchurch, had denied causing the death of Robert Cattermole on December 15 2016 by driving without due care and attention and his trial was due to have taken place at Ipswich Crown Court this year.

However today (Monday) Marc Brown, prosecuting, told the court that following a day-long conference between experts for the prosecution and defence, it had been decided to offer no evidence against Whitlock.

“Both experts together were of the view that it couldn’t be excluded that this defendant wasn’t able to see the Yamaha moped because of the headlights of the car behind the moped.”

He said that during reconstructions of the collision there were occasions when the headlights of the moped were lost in the glare of the vehicle behind it.

“It couldn’t be said to a satisfactory standard that this defendant was careless,” said Mr Brown.

He said the matter had been the subject of an extensive review during which counsel in the case had a full case conference with the Crown Prosecution Service following remarks made by a judge at a pre-trial review six weeks ago.

Following Mr Brown’s comments Judge John Devaux entered a not guilty verdict on the court record in respect of the charge of causing death by careless driving.

Whitlock, who was represented by Isobel Ascherson, was not required to attend the brief mention hearing. Miss Ascherson said she wouldn’t be making an application for her client’s travelling costs to and from court for earlier hearings.

No members of Mr Cattermole’s family attended court.

Police were called by the ambulance service at around 10.50pm on Thursday, December 15 2016 to reports of a collision between a motorcycle and a Vauxhall Corsa, close to the junction with Straight Road.

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were sent to the scene and Mr Cattermole, who lived in the Colchester area, was pronounced dead at the scene.

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