Driver who killed Chris Boardman’s mother handed 30-week jail term

A driver who ran over the mother of Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman seconds after ending a phone call has been jailed for 30 weeks for causing her death.

Liam Rosney, 33, pleaded guilty in December to causing the death by careless driving of Carol Boardman, just before his trial was due to start.

On Thursday, Judge Rhys Rowlands sentenced him to 30 weeks in prison and disqualified him from driving for 18 and a half months at Mold Crown Court.

Liam Rosney
Liam Rosney (Peter Byrne/PA)

The judge said: “This was an accident which could have easily been prevented and your contribution to that accident is significant in as much as you were distracted, the distraction being as a result of you using your mobile phone before the actual collision.

“Any accident which results in someone losing their life is the most appalling tragedy, the more so when the deceased, as here, was well loved and, as I have indicated already, a pretty remarkable woman.”

Mrs Boardman, 75, whose cyclist son Chris won gold at the 1992 Olympics, suffered multiple injuries when she was hit by Rosney’s Mitsubishi pick-up truck after falling from her bike on a mini-roundabout in Connah’s Quay, North Wales, on July 16 2016.

The court heard that in the minutes before Rosney hit Mrs Boardman, who had fallen from her bike on the junction of Mold Road and Ffordd Llanarth, he made or received three phone calls while driving his vehicle, which did not have a hands-free facility.

Matthew Curtis, prosecuting, said: “It’s clear he was speaking to his wife on the telephone four seconds before the fatal collision and he was, we submit, still distracted by the telephone call and mobile telephone handset.”

Oliver Jarvis, defending, said Rosney did not “want to make any excuses for his behaviour”.

He told the court: “He says that he has destroyed the lives of two families and therefore nothing I say will seek to undermine that guilty plea.”

But he said the father-of-two, who had a clean licence before the crash, was driving at an appropriate speed and if Mrs Boardman had not fallen from her bike he would not have hit her.

He added: “Mrs Boardman entered the bend over the give way lines when the defendant had priority and was already on the roundabout.”

In a statement, Mrs Boardman’s brother David Linfield said she had been a keen cyclist since the age of 16 and ran road awareness courses for young cyclists.

Reading the statement, Mr Curtis said: “The deceased finished work in order to bring up her children. She continued cycling through her life and encouraged her children to do the same.”

The court heard 150 cyclists rode behind the hearse at her funeral to “demonstrate the love and affection” they had for her

Chris Boardman
Chris Boardman (Ebury Press/PA)

Speaking to the Press Association ahead of the sentencing, Mr Boardman said: “Somebody being careless takes somebody’s life and it’s treated as just that – carelessness.

“Somebody who takes me swimming in the sea as a kid and races me for signs on a bike and has grandchildren is just taken away because somebody’s careless, because they used a mobile phone.

“Our legal system thinks that’s OK, and it’s wrong.

“I’m pretty certain that the death of my mother, which has been horrifically life-changing among all of our family, won’t be enough to change that.”

Liam Rosney with his wife Victoria
Liam Rosney with his wife Victoria (Peter Byrne/PA)

Rosney, of Welland Drive in Connah’s Quay, had originally faced trial in July last year but the jury was discharged halfway through.

He and wife Victoria Rosney, 32, were both initially charged with doing an act tending or intending to pervert the course of justice by deleting call logs from their phones, but the jury in the first trial was directed to return not guilty verdicts after Judge Rowlands said they could not fairly convict them.