Sandwich eating motorist acquitted of dangerous driving death
A motorist who struck and killed a cyclist while eating a sandwich at the wheel has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.
Firefighter Joseph Wilkins was killed while cycling on a country lane near Abingdon in Oxfordshire in May last year. He was struck by 30-year-old Paul Brown, who had been travelling at 60mph.
Brown denied causing death by dangerous driving, though had earlier admitted causing Wilkins's death through careless driving.
He was found not guilty in a unanimous verdict after four hours of deliberation and a four-day trial.
Brown will be sentenced on September 3.
He admitted to eating a sandwich while driving, in the five to 10 seconds before the collision occurred, but told that court that his attention was on the road and that he hadn't seen Wilkins as he wasn't wearing any reflective gear and that his bike was not fitted with lights.
Speaking outside court, Mr Wilkins' partner, Nicci Saunders, expressed her dismay at the outcome, saying: "It's devastating. There's nothing else we can say right now."
Sgt Jack Hawkins of Thames Valley Police, added: "The jury in this case decided that the facts amounted to careless driving as opposed to dangerous.
"What I would do of course is urge all drivers to think about their driving and their actions behind the wheel so that this kind of thing doesn't happen.
"Fatal collisions are very often avoidable and this case was no different at all."