Motorists who killed biker by slowing to 10mph on motorway is jailed

Updated: 

Motorists who killed biker by slowing to 10mph on motorway jailed

An engineer has been jailed for 20 months and banned from driving for three years after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after slowing to just 10 mph on a motorway.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Mark Walsh, 43, "invited catastrophe" when he suddenly braked to 10mph in order to make an impending slip road.

Peter Sarchet, 41, who was behind Walsh's car, tried to stop to avoid a collision but lost control of his Yamaha motorcycle. The father of three fell off his bike and slid under Walsh's Vauxhall Insignia, becoming instantly trapped and suffering catastrophic injuries.

The court also heard how a passing RAC recovery driver attempted to jack up the Insignia to free Mr Sarchet but his attempts were in vain and the motorcyclist was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Walsh offered no excuse to police as to why he had suddenly stopped on a busy M65 during rush hour traffic. He was not using his mobile phone and had simply slowed down on the motorway in Lancashire to take the turn-off for the M61.

Robert Elias, prosecuting, told the court: "For no reason... the defendant slowed down very quickly. "[He] all but stopped and was inviting catastrophe. No competent driver would consciously drive at less than 10mph on the motorway.

"There was no good reason for him to brake heavily. If someone is driving at less than 10mph on a motorway, he is an accident waiting to happen."

Alistair MacDonald, QC, defending, told the court Walsh was a hard-working 'family man'. "This was the briefest of moments giving rise to this offence," he added.

Passing sentence, Judge Robert Altham told Walsh: "You gratuitously braked hard and veered to the left while in the slow lane with such suddenness that you came to a rapid halt at what was a fairly busy time."

"The life that was lost as a result was a fine life. You never accepted responsibility for that day."