Ipswich: Death driver spared jail

A WOMAN who caused the death of a 34-year-old motorcyclist by careless driving has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.

Belinda Coote, 44, was spared a jail term at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday after a jury found her guilty earlier this week.

The part-time pub worker, of Scott Road, Ipswich, collided with a motorbike ridden by Matthew Page on the evening of October 26, 2009.

After colliding with Coote’s Ford Maverick 4x4 Mr Page’s motorcycle hit a brick wall. He died from multiple injuries several hours later in hospital.

Coote had been on her way to buy fish and chips with her 14-year-old daughter and failed to see Mr Page’s coming towards her, in excess of the 30mph speed limit, along Clapgate Lane as she made a right turn into Benacre Road.

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The court heard that Coote had been required to take annual sight tests after being diagnosed diabetic several years ago and that no deficiency had been found, leading Judge Patrick O’Brien to consider the crash was caused by “a lapse in concentration.”

Coote, whose only other endorsement came in 2007 for speeding, was said to have “felt the emotional burden” of causing the death of Mr Page, who lived in Platters Close, Ipswich, and had an eight-year-old daughter, Bethany, and a stepson, Thomas, 11.

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Judge Patrick O’Brien ordered Coote to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and contribute �250 to the cost of her trial - estimated to have cost a total of more than �2,000. He told her: “There is no doubt you should have seen him but the first thing you knew about it was when the side window of your car was smashed by the collision.”

After the hearing, senior investigating officer Paul Ward said: “This has to serve as a stark reminder to all drivers of the need to be aware of vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists.

“We certainly never considered any intention on the part of the defendant during the investigation. Instead, it amounts to carelessness and human frailty.”

Following Mr Page’s death, his family and friends described him as a “very special person”. His partner Orla Carabine called him her “angel on earth”.

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