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No prison for driver who caused death of Hereford cyclist, Chris

The Hereford Times: No prison for driver who caused death of Hereford cyclist, Christopher Staunton

7:00am Friday 20th November 2009

A MOTORIST who caused the death of an elderly Hereford cyclist will not be sent to prison.

Magistrates accepted that Rebecca Nicholls suffered a “momentary lapse of concentration” when she struck Christopher Staunton on Holme Lacy Road in July.

The 24-year-old, from Woking, Surrey, was sentenced at Hereford Magistrates last week after she admitted causing death by driving without due care and attention.

Mr Staunton, aged 80 and from Redhill, was not wearing a helmet and suffered fatal head injuries after the collision near a roundabout.

Prosecutor Max Bennett told a previous hearing that Nicholls did not see the cyclist and was heard saying “what have I done?” to witnesses after the accident.

Magistrates heard a family tribute last week, describing Mr Staunton as a fit man who preferred cycling to driving.

Nicholls was fined £2,500 and disqualified from driving for 18 months. She must also pay costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Hereford magistrate Nick O’Sullivan said to Mr Staunton’s family: “The bench is extremely sorry for you to find yourself in these most unfortunate circumstances.

“But the case before us is a matter of justice. We’ve considered our guidelines and have determined this was a momentary lapse of concentration.”