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Auctioneer admits causing death by dangerous driving

A disqualified young motorcyclist died when a livestock auctioneer pulled across the road in front of him to turn into the entrance to a farm field.

But south Warwickshire auctioneer Martin Lloyd escaped a custodial sentence after finally admitting responsibility for Jay Brownhill’s death in the collision near the village of Stoneleigh.

He had originally denied a charge of causing death by careless driving – but changed his plea to guilty at a pre-trial hearing at Warwick Crown Court.

Lloyd (24) was given a 12-month community order with a condition of residence at his home in Dassett Road, Farnborough, for one week, and banned from driving for a year.

Prosecutor Paul Dhami said that at 1.30pm on 23 October 2018, Lloyd was driving his X-type Jaguar along Stoneleigh Road away from Stoneleigh village.

Heading the opposite way from the direction of the A46 Kenilworth by-pass was 21-year-old Jay Brownhill, from Wednesbury in the Black Country, on a black Yamaha with a pillion passenger.

But Lloyd, who Judge Sylvia de Bertodano observed should have had the Yamaha in view for up to ten seconds, made a right turn across the road into the entrance to a field which had a locked gate.

“The motorcycle and the Jaguar collided, with the bike hitting the front passenger side door,” said Mr Dhami.

“The rider was thrown from the motorcycle and made contact with the passenger door and then went onto the roof of the Jaguar and into the road, and died as a result of his injuries.”

A woman driving behind Lloyd said he had slowed down and indicated appropriately before pulling into the farm gap, and she had not noticed any oncoming traffic until she heard the sound of the collision and saw Mr Brownhill go over the Jaguar.

Mr Dhami pointed out that Mr Brownhill should not have been on the road because he had been disqualified.

In addition, the bike’s MoT had expired, its rear number plate had been tampered with, and the tread on one tyre was below the legal limit while the other tyre was under-inflated.

But a collision expert did not consider those defects had been a factor in the collision itself, Mr Dhami pointed out.

When he was interviewed Lloyd denied any wrongdoing, and said he had carried out the manoeuvre in accordance with his normal standard of driving, and did not see the motorbike.

Judge de Bertodano observed that if the bike had been doing 60mph, it would have been in view for ten seconds – and even if it had been doing twice that speed it would have been visible for five seconds.

“He’s not saying he saw it and misjudged the speed. He just didn’t see it.”

She said the ‘guideline range’ in such circumstances suggested ‘a high-level community order,’ adding: “I can see no reason for departing from that.”

Alexander Barbour, defending, said Lloyd had been driving cars since he was 17, and tractors since he was 16, ‘and has never troubled the courts before.’

Mr Barbour said Lloyd works as a livestock auctioneer, and at the time was turning into a farm track to go to feed some of the livestock he looks after.

He pointed out that Lloyd lives in a rural area, using his car to get to and from work, and the disqualification ‘will have an impact on his ability to work.’

Sentencing Lloyd, Judge de Bertodano told him: “You were on the Stoneleigh Road on the 23rd of October 2018 when you made a mistake and turned right in front of an oncoming motorcycle. You didn’t see it, and you should have.

“There were aspects about that motorcycle and its riders which suggest it might not have been being driven in a legal way – but you should have seen it.

“Your culpability is very low. You made the sort of mistake many drivers do on a daily basis and it’s your misfortune, as well and Mr Brownhill’s, that he was injured and died.

“It makes it a difficult case for me to deal with. You live in the country, and the real penalty to you is going to be your one-year disqualification.

“You are a livestock auctioneer, and that requires doing a lot of driving, so this will impact on your career.”

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