Woman Convicted Over Death Of Motorcyclist
12 November 2012, 15:09 | Updated: 12 November 2012, 15:16
A woman driver who pulled out and killed a motorbike rider, who was on his way to a memorial service for the legendary motorbike road racer Mike Hailwood, has been convicted of causing death by careless driving.
Lorraine Ferris, 51, from Colney Heath, was placed on a 12 month Community Order and told to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.
Judge Richard Foster also banned her from driving for 12 months and ordered her to take an extended re-test before regaining her licence and told her to pay £300 prosecution costs.
Luton crown court heard that motorbike rider Neal Christian, 64, was thrown into the air and travelled 10 metres along the carriageway after he crashed into her blue Fiesta.
Mr Christian, from Enfield, had met up in Hertford with six other motorbike riders to make the journey to Norton motorbike factory in Birmingham and were to then go to a memorial service for Mike Hailwood in a nearby church.
Prosecutor Rachel Drake said the crash happened at between 9.25 and 9.30 in the morning of Sunday 20 March last year.
Ms Ferris, 51, was taking her partner and two children to Norfolk for the day from her home in Colney Heath near St Albans when she pulled onto the 'longabout' on the A414 from Colney Heath High Street and struck Mr Christian, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
She said Mr Christian was with a group of five other motorbike enthusiasts who were travelling together to attend the memorial service for Mike Hailwood in Birmingham. They had left Hertford and were on the A414 travelling west along the 'longabout' at Smallford near St Albans. Mrs Ferris was cut out of the her car and was treated for fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
Phillip Massetti, who was riding alongside Mr Christian, told Luton crown court they were travelling at about 50 miles per hour when he noticed the blue Fiesta waiting at the junction.
He said: "It started to move out and looked as if it was going to cut across the dual carriageway. I recognised that it was a lady driver and she had children in the car.
"Neal Christian was travelling at the same speed as me. We were side by side. When he saw the car he made a move to go to the left but I think he realised he would cut me up. He then swerved to the right and accelerated to get round the front of the car. At the same time I believe the driver of the car accelerated to get across to the other side. Neal smashed into the middle of the car at an angle of 90 degrees.
"He must have been thrown 10 metres over the top of the car."
Mr Massetti said he pulled up. Two children had got out of and he heard screaming from the car. He ran back to Mr Christian and saw one of his colleagues,who is a nurse, giving him CPR.
He said: "I picked his wrist up to feel his pulse. There wasn't one. I lifted up his visor. He had died on impact."
Ms Ferris of Hall Gardens, Colney Heath denies causing death by careless driving on A414 North Orbital Road on 20 March 2011.
When interviewed, in May last year, Ferris told the police she was taking her partner and children for a day out in Norfolk. She said she stopped for a few seconds to see if the road was clear and saw nothing else.
The prosecutor said: "She was adamant she did not see the motorcyclist. She made a catastrophic error in her judgement. If she did stop and look it is clear she did not look properly.
"She was not keeping a proper look out and pulled out in front of oncoming traffic."