Careless lorry driver killed biker as he reached for his sunglasses while turning into Stoke-on-Trent factory


Lorry driver Paul Reditt killed a motorcyclist when he failed to see him as he turned right into a factory in Stoke-on-Trent.

The 50-year-old was reaching for his sunglasses and did not spot  57-year-old Richard Thorley riding his motorbike on Campbell Road, Stoke, as he turned into the Michelin factory.

Mr Thorley, of Tean, was thrown from his motorbike and sustained multiple traumatic injuries and suffered a cardiac arrest.

He was taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital but medics were unable to save him.

Now Reditt – who has shown genuine remorse – has been sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for 18 months, at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Prosecutor Steven Bailey said the incident happened on the afternoon of August 13. Mr Bailey said: “Mr Thorley was returning home from work shortly before 4pm.

“The defendant told the police the sun was in his eyes as he started to turn right into the Michelin factory.

“It is clear from the dashcam footage that Mr Thorley was visible for three or four seconds before the defendant began to turn.

“Reditt was due to make a delivery to the Michelin factory. He took a wrong turning shortly before he reached his destination. He came out the wrong turn and rejoined Campbell Road. He reached about 20mph and was travelling at 9mph as he turned.

Motorbiker Richard Thorley died following a lorry crash on Campbell Road, Stoke

“Mr Thorley did not have any time to stop. The motorcycle struck the front of the lorry. The front wheel came off and Mr Thorley was thrown to the ground.

“Reditt stopped, got out and immediately witnesses described him as being distraught and shocked. He was asking after Mr Thorley.”

Reditt told paramedics at the scene he was reaching for his sunglasses.

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Mr Thorley suffered multiple traumatic injuries and died at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

In a statement read to the court, his parents described him as their ‘rock’.

Reditt, of Romney Avenue, Chesterton, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Richard Dawson, mitigating, said it was a tragic case.

He said: “But for those few moments, in every other sense, he has driven carefully and competently. He was not driving excessively fast. He was not driving aggressively.

“He is typically a conscientious and careful driver. He was a professional driver and is held in high esteem by his employers.

“He is profoundly sorry for his failings on that day.

“He sought as best he could to assist at the scene. He ran to assist, he rang 999, he co-operated with the police.”

Mr Dawson added the defendant was genuinely remorseful and urged Judge Paul Glenn to suspend the sentence.

As part of the suspended sentence Reditt must complete 200 hours unpaid work. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Judge Paul Glenn said: “This really is a tragic case and offences of this type are among the most difficult cases that any court has to deal with.

“Richard Thorley was a hard-working man with an excellent work record. He was an experienced motorcyclist. The fatal collision occurred within minutes of him leaving work.

“You would have been in each others’ sight for three or four seconds. You turned right across his path. You had slowed down but not stopped before making that manoeuvre.

Judge Paul Glenn

“By the time you began to turn the motorcycle was about 10 metres ahead of you, leaving him with no chance whatsoever to take any sort of evasive action.

“I do accept the sun played a part in the collision.

“You told a paramedic and a police officer that you were reaching for your sunglasses as you turned into the factory. You were aware the sun was a problem and that provided even more reason to proceed with the utmost caution, or even for stopping.

“The motorcycle was there to be seen but you did not see it. You were plainly unaware of its presence. This accident was caused by your observational failure. You were not paying sufficient attention to the road in front of you.

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“From the time of the accident your remorse has been obvious, genuine and total.

“You are back in work. Your employer is very supportive of you. There is strong personal mitigation in this case.”

Judge Glenn told Mr Thorley’s relatives who attended the hearing: “No sentence any court can impose can ever compensate for loss of life. It is simply impossible to do that. You have my sympathy. Can I also urge you to remember the good times.”

Reditt was ordered to pay £425 costs and a £122 surcharge.





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