Case Study

Time-triallist Len Grayson killed on A19 near Thirsk - driver gets suspended custodial sentence and 18 month driving ban

Incident date: 
Sat, 18 Aug 2012

75 year old Yorkshire cyclist Len Grayson was killed during a time-trial on the A19 near Thirsk.

The crash between an Alfa Romeo car happened on the northbound carriageway, at about 5pm on Saturday 18th August. Both vehicles were travelling in the same direction when the crash occurred. The event was halted and the road was closed until 9.45pm.

The 29-year-old car driver, who was local, was taken to the Friarage Hospital by ambulance. The cyclist died at the scene.

Mike Cole, another cyclist who had been taking part in the time trial, said:

“No-one seems to know exactly what happened but I understand the car was on its roof.”

  • UPDATE (26/06/13)

The driver who hit Len Grayson, Peter Barraclough, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at Teeside Crown Court.

The court heard that Barraclough, 30, from East Cowton near Northallerton, initially thought he had hit a bird before he stopped, looked in his mirror and realised he had struck Mr Grayson.

Peter Makepeace, prosecuting, described the incident last August as “an extremely tragic road traffic accident”.

He said Mr Grayson, who lived in Garforth, West Yorkshire with Kathleen, his wife of 49 years, was “by all accounts, a remarkable man who belied his years”.

“In his younger years he was a nationally renowned amateur cyclist winning many cups and trophies,” he said.

“He regained national recognition, this time as a veteran rider,” Mr Makepeace added.

Barraclough had been working in nearby Topcliffe and was driving his Alfa Romeo along the A19 within the speed limit shortly before the incident, the court was told.

“There’s no evidence to suggest Mr Barraclough was speeding,” Mr Makepeace said.

He added that signs were in place warning motorists of the event, which Barraclough later told police he had seen.

Police accident investigators said Barraclough would have seen Mr Grayson for at least nine seconds.

But the defendant admitted he had been looking at a low loader lorry on the opposite carriageway just before the crash, the court was told.

Ian West, defending, told Mr Grayson’s family, who were in court: “On behalf of Peter Barraclough, can I express his sincere condolences to Kathleen Grayson and her family?

“He could not be more remorseful. He is a decent man, a hard-working man. His life is scarred by this tragic accident as well, as I’m sure Mr Grayson’s family understands.”

Judge Peter Bowers said Barraclough’s driving fell “substantially below what was acceptable”.

He decided not to jail Barraclough immediately, but gave him a five-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

He also banned him from driving for 18 months.

Sergeant John Lumbard of Richmond Roads Policing Group, said: “This was a tragic incident for everyone involved and highlights why motorists should be alert at all times to cyclists, especially now that there are many cycling events taking place on the roads throughout the summer months.”

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