Meols man guilty of causing death by careless driving

An 88-year-old man has been sentenced after he killed a cyclist on a roundabout in Hoylake, Merseyside, in November 2019.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that the Vauxhall Astra being driven by Frederick Clague, of Meols, hit the bike being ridden by Simon Jones, 46, at the junction of Market Street and Station Road at 1.50pm on 27 November.

Mr Clague did not slow down as he reached the single give way markings at the roundabout. Mr Jones was already cycling on the roundabout and the Vauxhall Astra hit the back of the bike. Witnesses say Mr Jones had protective headgear and was wearing bright clothing.

Mr Jones came off the bike, hit the bonnet and was then dragged under the car.

Witnesses described the car continuing to move slowly forward, despite the fact that Mr Jones was underneath.

In a statement later to Police, Mr Clague said that he had panicked and may have hit the accelerator pedal rather than the brake.

He got out of the car as people nearby ran to the scene. He said to witnesses that he hadn’t seen the cyclist and that he felt he couldn’t make the car stop.

People nearby managed to get the car onto its side and a couple of off-duty nurses tried to resuscitate Mr Jones. He was taken to hospital but died six days later from head and chest injuries.

Passers-by lifted the car on to its side to free the cyclist. Image credit: Crown Prosecution Service

Mr Clague could not be questioned later by police as he was shielding because of the Coronavirus but he gave a prepared statement. He said he has been devastated by the events of that day. He had been driving for 60 years with no issues at all.

He had been on his way to the Royal Liverpool Golf Club when the accident happened and he hadn’t been in a rush.

At Liverpool Magistrates’ Court yesterday he pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and was given a 16-week curfew order. He was disqualified from driving for three years, but has already surrendered his licence to the DVLA.

In a moving Victim Personal Statement, the victim’s brother, David Jones, said he had seen fire engines at the time of the accident and had wondered where they were going. In fact, they had been on the way to the scene of the tragedy.

He said in his statement: “I have lost my best friend, but more than that, I have lost my brother. I had one and now he’s gone.”

Simon Jones was a carer for his mother Ann. In her Victim Personal Statement she said: “His unwavering support he gave me, abruptly stopped on that day.

“My way of life has changed forever. He had so much more life to live. His last Mother’s Day card to me read, ‘You are not just my mother, you are my friend too. How lucky am I.’ I was the lucky one to have a son like him. I am very proud of my son. He went on to help others after his death as an organ donor. …I have lost my one and only true friend, my son, my baby, my Simon.”

Associate Prosecutor Alan Currums, of CPS Mersey Cheshire said, ” This is a tragic case for all concerned. The family of Mr Jones have been devastated by their loss. He was a loving and caring son and the shock of what happened on that day cannot be underestimated.

“Mr Clague was also devastated by what happened on that day. However, it was his actions that led to this tragedy and the Crown Prosecution Service has worked to make him face the consequences of what he has done.

“There are no winners here at all. The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank the witnesses who have helped us bring this prosecution and also helped on the day. We would also like to extend sincere condolences to the family of Mr Jones.”

Main image: Simon Jones – family photograph.