Student admits blame for death of cyclist Rob Jefferies on the A351

DRIVE CHARGE: Lee Cahill arrives at court

Rob Jefferies

First published in News by

A COLLEGE student who admitted causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving has been handed a community order.

Lee Cahill, 18, of Tamlin Street, Wareham, appeared at Weymouth Magistrates Court on Thursday for sentencing.

The court heard that Cahill had been driving a Renault Clio on the A351 in Wareham in May when he was involved in a collision with Robert Jefferies, who was riding a bicycle on the road.

Cahill pleaded guilty to the offence of causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing.

Cahill was given a 12 month community order by magistrates, and ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service.

He was disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to retake his test. He was also told he must pay costs of £85. The court heard that Cahill had been driving along the A351 close to the Purbeck roundabout when his car struck Mr Jefferies’ bike.

Prosecutor Andrew Newman read a statement from Mr Brown, who had been driving the car in front of Cahill’s during the incident. He said: “Mr Jefferies was cycling inside the white line on the road.

“I made an exaggerated overtake to give the cyclists room.”

Mr Brown said the Clio seemed to be in line with the cyclists.

“I was expecting the car to pull out to overtake them, but it did not.”

Speaking for the defendant, Robert Grey told the court that Cahill had been dazzled by the sun when he was driving along the road.

He said: “The police arranged for a road traffic expert to attend the scene the following day.

His report stated that drivers travelling north-west at the time of the collision would have had the sun shining almost directly across the road.”

He added: “My client should have slowed down or stopped. Perhaps a more experienced driver would have done.

“But that is what he has done wrong. He will always remember what he did and what the effect of that was.”

Mr Grey told the court that Cahill, of previous good character, was training to be a plumber and passed his driving test in January 2011.

Chairman of the bench Sharon Morecombe said: “The consequences of this accident have been devastating for Cahill, who is extremely remorseful.

“ However, the effect is considerably more devastating and will remain with the family of Mr Jefferies for the rest of their lives.”

Mr Jefferies’ family was too upset to comment.

• Prosecutor Andrew Newman read a statement to the court from the widow and family of Mr Jefferies, a well-known cyclist, pictured above.

In it, Mrs Jefferies paid tribute to “a lovely dad and fabulous stepdad” who would take his children cycling, shopping, and help with homework.

She added: “I cannot make up for their loss. We were looking forward to a change in our life together. Rob was doing a teaching course and we were looking forward to financial and domestic stability which would enable us to be closer. Now I have lost that.”

Mr Jefferies, who was in his 40s, helped to found the Wareham Forest Race. He was also a member of Poole Wheelers cycling club.

A ‘stalwart’ of the British biking scene

ROB Jefferies was a “legend” in the cycling world, friends said.

The former British Cycling employee, born in 1968, took part in a series of high level track and time trial events. A member of Poole Wheelers Cycling Club, he listed winning national medals in 1993, the West Thames 20K and the Southborough and District 10 in 1990 as among his best cycling moments.

As well as “The whole of 1996”.

The father-of-one wrote on his online bio: “Track was my main thing until I moved to Dorset. Now I do a bit of everything.”

His top training tip was: “Go bike riding, don’t worry about how fast you go.

“Just spend some time pedaling it’s great, or failing that, get Leighton to decide the route.”

Cycling fansites, such as Cycling Weekly, described him as a “stalwart” of the British cycling scene.

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