Grieving parents make a plea not to give custodial sentence to an elderly driver who caused the death of their daughter
Stephen Bateman, 75, who pleaded guilty for having caused the death of a woman cyclist to death with his cement mixer, has been allowed to go free after the parents of the victim made a plea to the judge.
The elderly trucker had caused the death of the 34, year old cyclist Joanna Braithwaite due to his careless driving which he admitted in the court.
He was a very experienced driver who had put on more than two million miles of driving in his 43 year driving career. And he had not caused a single accident until he reversed his 14 tonne lorry to hit Joanna an assistant of a rector.
The incident had taken place in Woodstock Road at the junction with Polstead Road. Where Ms Braithwaite lived, at about 9am, on October 28, 2011.
Oxford Crown Court was told that the victim was cycling to church when Bateman failed to spot her as he reversed after overshooting his turning opposite a school.
It was not clear whether she fell from her bicycle or was trying to avoid the lorry or was knocked over before being run over. She was dragged along the road for some distance before other motorists sounded horn and pedestrians shouted at Bateman to stop the court heard.
Ms Braithwaite was rushed to hospital but doctors could not save her.
Prosecutor Charles Ward Jackson told the hearing that the defendant should have been aware of Miss Braithwaite at the junction but admitted he had not seen her at all. Mr Jackson said that the accident was the result of callous driving and double failure to see her when he went backwards and forwards.
Motoring law lawyer defending Bateman told the judge that his client has asked him to express his regret and sympathy about what happened, to her family. He had expressed his remorse over the happening which had clearly affected him.
The lawyer also appraised the court that his client was hard on hearing and was the sole carer of his wife who was diabetic.
Judge Harold Persaud gave Bateman a suspended eight-month prison sentence, with 240 hours of unpaid work and banned him from driving for three years.
He said the parents of Ms Braithwaite did not seek retribution and have recognised how the accident had affected the offender.
Bateman, of Astrop Road, Middleton Cheney, Banbury, Oxon., would be subjected to an extended driving test before he could return to driving.
Speaking after the case the victim's parents, Charlotte and Paul Braithwaite, both 61, said they were too sad to express the loss of their daughter they said they were quite certain that Bateman had in no way intended to hurt her and therefore they had no personal grudge towards him.
A custodial sentence to a man of Bateman’s age would not serve any useful purpose they said
Miss Braithwaite was personal assistant to the Rector, The Rev Charlie Cleverly, at St Aldates Church, Oxford. She had previously attended school in London and studied theology at the University of Birmingham.
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