Arlesey driver whose careless actions led to Hitchin motorcyclist’s death spared jail

Jason Hood

Jason Hood - Credit: Archant

A driver whose momentary lapse of concentration lead to a motorcyclist’s death has been spared jail.

Jason Hood, of Ramerick Gardens in Arlesey, was given a two-year driving ban and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning for causing death by careless driving.

The 33-year-old had been driving his silver Fiat Scudo van along the A505, opposite Willow Lane in Hitchin, on September 17 last year when he attempted to turn into the road and hit Lee Coxhead’s black Yamaha motorbike head-on.

The 39-year-old motorcyclist from Hitchin suffered serious injuries and was flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he remained in a critical condition until he died from multiple organ failure just over three weeks later.

Hood already has six points on his licence for speeding offences and pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at the same court on Monday, June 8. The charge carries a mandatory driving disqualification which can only be lifted in special circumstances.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Tariq Iqbal said Hood had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and felt huge remorse for what had happened. He then argued that these special circumstances applied to Hood because he would lose his job if he was banned.

Mr Iqbal said: “He makes no excuses – he should have seen Mr Coxhead. Clearly Mr Coxhead’s family have been affected, but so has Mr Hood. It has been a living nightmare for him. When he heard that Mr Coxhead had died he life was changed forever. He has had to live with it.”

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The defence lawyer added: “I am asking not for a disqualification but penalty points. He has been punished enough since this has happened. There would be no need to punish him more by making him lose his job. You can give him up to five points and he would know that one more lapse would mean him losing his license.”

Prosecuting, David Redmond disagreed with Mr Iqbal’s interpretation of what constitutes special reasons and said the fact there was no intent was shown by the prosecution not seeking a more severe sentence.

He said: “Even if there has been a momentary lapse, the reality is that it has resulted in somebody’s death. When someone has lost their life families and the public expect there to be some sort of disqualification.”

The bench retired for more than half an hour to consider their verdict. When it returned, chairman of the bench Kathryn Greenwood said: “We would like to say our sincere condolences to Mr Coxhead’s family and friends. Whatever sentence we give will not reflect the grief his family will always suffer.”

She added: “We have considered your special reasons argument in particular. We do not find there are any special circumstances and we are not taking them into account when sentencing.

“Therefore we are imposing a ban for 24 months during which time you cannot drive any motor vehicle on a road or public highway.”

Hood must also complete a 12-month supervision order and pay £145 in court costs and fines.