10:17am Wednesday 30th December 2009
A MOTORIST who killed an elderly cyclist after he hit him with his high-powered car has been jailed.
John Charlton, 50, of Surrey Terrace, Chester-le-Street, killed James Loveridge after he drove his silver Mercedes E200 into the 71-year-old as he travelled along a dark unlit road in Tring, Hertfordshire.
Charlton admitted careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident on the day of trial. He had earlier denied the offences and refused to answer police questions.
Sentencing was adjourned for reports until yesterday at Hemel Hempstead Magistrates’ Court.
Charlton had been working in the area when he left The Anglers Retreat pub in Marsworth, Buckinghamshire, at about 10.30pm on Sunday, July 6, last year.
He drove from the pub car park with two passengers and hit Mr Loveridge moments later.
Charlton was traced shortly afterwards to a caravan on an industrial estate in Tring.
Police had found an MOT reminder sticker from his windscreen among debris at the scene.
In mitigation, it was pointed out Mr Loveridge was twoand- a-half times the legal drink-drive limit. He had been cycling along a dark, unlit road in dark clothes and with no lights.
However, Samantha Kempster, an employee of The Black Horse, in Tring, where Mr Loveridge had been drinking that night, told police: “He may have been slightly tipsy, but he was by no means drunk.”
Analysis of the damage to Charlton’s car showed he hit Mr Loveridge’s bicycle directly from behind.
The court heard that Charlton was remorseful, had not realised he had hit someone and that what he had done would stay with him forever.
Chairman of the bench Audrey Adams said: “We find it inconceivable that you were not aware that you had hit Mr Loveridge on his bicycle, and find not stopping unforgivable.”
Charlton was jailed for 22 weeks and banned from driving for 12 months.