Crash tragedy driver recalls accident

A FATHER-of-two broke down in tears as he recalled in court how he held the hand of a young moped rider who lay dying in the road after a collision with his car.

By Danielle Nuttall

A FATHER-of-two broke down in tears as he recalled in court how he held the hand of a young moped rider who lay dying in the road after a collision with his car.

Richard Newport, 36, was driving along the A1120 through Earl Soham on December 11 last year when he overtook an articulated lorry into the path of a moped driven by 17-year-old Sam Kerry.

Mr Kerry, from Debenham, suffered fatal injuries in the accident, which happened shortly after 7am, and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Newport, of Lincoln Avenue, Saxmundham, denies a charge of causing death of dangerous driving but has admitted a lesser charge of driving his Vauxhall Astra car without due care and attention.

At Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, prosecution barrister Stephen Dyble said lorry driver Daniel Chamberlain had been travelling along the A1120 through Earl Soham when he became aware of a car behind him, which was being driven by Newport.

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Mr Dyble said Mr Chamberlain saw a headlight in the distance, which was the moped being driven by trainee gardener Mr Kerry, and shortly afterwards was aware that the car behind him had pulled out to overtake.

The car collided with the moped and "catapulted" Mr Kerry backwards, leaving the former Debenham High School pupil, who lived at Sparrow Court, with fatal injuries, he said.

The prosecution claims Newport overtook the lorry just before the brow of a hill so would not have been able to see what was coming in the opposite direction.

"The view was obscured by the brow of the hill. It was a dangerous decision to take. His driving at that point was dangerous," Mr Dyble told the jury.

"It was an inherently dangerous manoeuvre to try and overtake at that point with a hill that obscured the view."

But giving evidence at his trial yesterday, Newport said he thought that it had been safe to pull out and wept as he told the court how he sat by the side of Mr Kerry immediately after the accident.

"I went over to Sam and was by his side. I was trying to see whether he was ok. I was there all the time holding his hand," he said.

Newport, who has more than ten years experience as an HGV lorry driver, told the court he was driving to work on the morning of the accident.

"We came to the top of the hill, I pulled out to have a look down the side of the lorry. I could see in the distance there was a set of headlights," he said.

"I presumed it was safe to overtake so I pulled out. I could see all the way along the road in front of me. It happened almost instantaneously."

Under cross-examination by defence barrister Michael Clare, Newport was asked whether he was sure he had tried to overtake at the top of the hill and not before. The defendant replied: "I am positive."

Pc Derek Baldry, an accident investigator with Suffolk Constabulary, told the court no defects had been found on either the moped or Newport's Vauxhall Astra car during examinations.

In police interviews, Newport said he had been driving about 40mph along the road when he saw a set of headlights in the distance and thought he had plenty of time to get round the lorry.

"I hadn't got past him when a motorcycle hit me in front," he told police.

In his closing speech to the jury, defence barrister Mr Clare said his client, whether right or wrong, would live with this for the rest of his life and added there were no winners in the case.

The jury retired to consider their verdict yesterday afternoon and are due to continue deliberating today.

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