A MOTORIST who drove through a junction in the New Forest and killed a cyclist has been spared a prison sentence.

Viral Parekh was behind the wheel of his Vauxhall Zafira on December 2 last year when he hit Kieran Dix at the Ipley Crossroad east of Beaulieu.

Mr Dix, who was 36, had the right of way at the time of the crash. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to Southampton General Hospital. Despite the efforts of doctors, he died on February 7 at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

Parekh, 23, of Deacon Road in Southampton, admitted causing Mr Dix's death by careless driving at Southampton Crown Court.

The court heard Parekh failed to see Mr Dix on the day of the crash and, believing the road was clear, drove through the give way lines at the junction.

On Thursday, the defendant was sentenced to an eight-month prison sentence, which will be suspended for two years, and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years, after which he must take an extended retest.

It was heard that Parekh made a “serious misjudgement” and should have slowed down and given himself more time at the junction to check the road was clear.

PC Alex Tack of the Hampshire Constabulary Joint Roads Policing Unit said: “This tragic case again shows that a moment’s inattention or carelessness can have catastrophic consequences.

“Drivers must take extra care to look out for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, especially at junctions.

“The consequences of not doing so can be fatal.”

Earlier this year, police released a tribute from Mr Dix's family.

They said: "Kieran was an intelligent and well-loved man who was a respected design engineer, a talented sailor, a powerful but crafty badminton player and a serious cyclist, having independently ridden some of the mountainous stages of the Tour de France.

“He had reached that stage in life when everything had come together in work, sport and relationships. Our treasured son and brother, forever in our hearts.”