A COURIER who was involved in a fatal crash before continuing to make his planned delivery was arrested after a police officer spotted his badly-damaged van on the back of a recovery truck, a court heard.

Kevin Johnson was dropping a passenger's suitcase off at a Bournemouth hotel from Southampton Airport when he hit Christopher Gibbs on the A338 Spur Road.

Mr Gibbs, 30, was riding home from work on an "arrow-straight" stretch of the southbound carriageway at around 10.15pm on October 3 last year when he was struck by Johnson's white Mercedes Citan. He hit the bonnet and the windscreen and was thrown some 47.5 metres over the van.

Although a passing motorist and a lorry driver stopped to give CPR at the scene before paramedics arrived, Mr Gibbs had died instantly of his injuries.

The defendant, 58, briefly pulled over and made a "cursory" search of the carriageway before continuing his journey to the Applewood Hotel with a bowed and shattered windscreen to drop off the suitcase.

After his arrival in Durley Road, he wiped blood from the car with a tissue and took photographs of the damage. He told mechanics who came to collect his van and take it to a garage in Southampton he believed he could have hit a deer and may have "blacked out for a second".

However, when he was in the cab of the recovery truck on the way back to Hampshire, he saw emergency services workers in the carriageway of the Spur Road. He then repeatedly searched the Bournemouth Echo's website and Googled search terms including 'road closures' and 'road updates'.

At 6.20am, he searched 'contact police', but did not make a call. Three minutes later, officers arrived at his address and he was arrested.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court, said Mr Gibbs' bike was fitted with a red light on the back and a white light on the front. Both were illuminated at the time of the collision.

Motorists who had passed the cyclist before the collision were found and interviewed. Some said the light on the back of the bike had appeared "faint", and one said he narrowly missed crashing into Mr Gibbs.

Other drivers said the victim was "easily" visible for some distance.

Mr Ellacott said Johnson was arrested after a police officer spotted his damaged van on the back of the recovery lorry as it travelled up the Spur Road and took the registration details.

"If that officer had not seen the van and taken those details, it is unlikely we would be here today," he said.

Johnson, of Sandleford Lodge Park in Thatcham, Berkshire, admitted causing death by careless driving. He denied dangerous driving, which prosecutors alleged had happened when he drove afterwards with a shattered windscreen. The charge was ordered to lie on file.

The defendant did not enter pleas to being the driver of a vehicle and failing to stop after a road accident and being the driver of a vehicle involved in a road accident and failing to report the accident. Both charges were not proceeded with by the prosecution.

Ian Bridge, mitigating, said Johnson was "desperately sorry" for his "momentary inattention" to the road ahead.

Judge Peter Crabtree OBE sentenced Johnson to a 12-month community order, under which he must carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 in prosecution costs.

He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.