Malcolm Sykes, 77, given 18 week suspended jail sentence for causing accident which killed motorcyclist Daniel Hayward in 2013

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A 77-year-old driver who caused the accident which killed a motorcyclist by pulling across his path at a junction has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Malcolm Sykes was travelling at around 20mph when he tried to turn right from Lowestoft Road onto Glenwood Drive in Worlingham on October 23, 2013.

However as he did so he crossed in front of Daniel Hayward who was riding in the opposite direction.

Although neither vehicle was travelling at great speed Mr Hayward died as a result of the injures he suffered in the crash.

Mr Hayward’s widow and other members of his family were at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday to hear the sentencing.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said someone driving behind Sykes, of Park Drive, Worlingham, had expected so see his brake lights come on after he began indicating to turn right.

Mr Gair added the witness said in his statement the brake lights did not come on even just before Sykes turned.

Another witness said he could clearly see the motorbike approaching on the other side of the road, even though he was a few cars behind Sykes’ Ford B-Max, Mr Gair said.

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He said other drivers’ statements indicated the evening sunlight was not dazzling, although Sykes had said he felt it had been and he did not see the bike.

Richard Clews, mitigating, said: “This case was plainly a terrible tragedy for all involved.

“He (Sykes) is wracked with remorse about what happened to such an extent his own health is suffering considerably as a result.”

Mr Clews added Sykes had been driving without incident for 58 years and had a good driving record.

He said Sykes hadn’t driven since the incident and had no plans to do so in the near future.

Mr Clews also told the court Sykes was the sole carer for his invalid wife and had pleaded guilty at an early stage.

Passing sentence Judge Rupert Overbury said he felt the incident demonstrated a lack of attention generally and not momentary inattention.

As a result the offence passed the custody threshold but in light of Sykes’ circumstances he would suspend a sentence of 18 weeks in prison for 12 months.

Judge Overbury also ruled Sykes must pay £670 costs and an £80 victim surcharge, as well as disqualifying him from driving for three years.

Sykes must take an extended retest if he wants to regain a driving license.

In his closing statement the judge praised Simon Bryant, a member of the public who had stopped to help Mr Hayward after the crash.

He said the former armed forces medic “gave assistance despite the reluctance of the other members of the public” both before and after the arrival of paramedics.

“Mr Bryant’s actions should be commended and I do so,” Judge Overbury concluded.