Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 14:40 UK

Cyclist jailed for pavement death

A cyclist who knocked down an 84-year-old pedestrian who later died has been jailed for seven months.

Supermarket worker Darren Hall, 20, cycled down a hill in Weymouth, Dorset, too fast and rode on to the pavement, Dorchester Crown Court heard.

Hall was said to be riding "like a bat out of hell" when he hit Ronald Turner in August 2008. He died 13 days later.

Hall, of Weymouth, pleaded guilty to the 19th Century offence of wanton and furious driving causing bodily harm.

He was also banned from driving for a year. Hall had admitted the offence at an earlier hearing.

The court heard that on 8 August last year Hall cycled around a blind bend but was travelling too quickly to take evasive action. He told police he had been forced on to the pavement to avoid a swerving car.

The wanton and furious driving charge goes back to 1861 under the Offences Against the Person Act and reflects the gravity of the incident
Sgt Tony Burden

An off-duty nurse helped Mr Turner, who was taken to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester with head injuries where he died on 21 August.

In a statement, his daughter Gillian Muhl said: "The cyclist was described as riding like a bat out of hell.

"Mr Turner's family are relieved that the whole episode has been brought to a close and urge all cyclists to stay off the pavement.

"If they choose to break the law then they must expect to face the consequences of their actions."

Speaking after the hearing, Sgt Tony Burden said: "There is no such thing as causing death by dangerous or careless cycling.

"There is only careless or dangerous driving which the Crown Prosecution Service thought because of the seriousness of the offence was too minor.

"The wanton and furious driving charge goes back to 1861 under the Offences Against the Person Act and reflects the gravity of the incident.

"This case clearly highlights the dangers of riding a cycle on a pavement. Adults should be riding on the road and if they are forced to go on to a pavement they should take extreme care and always give priority to pedestrians."

Correction 14 August 2009: An earlier version of this story, based on an agency report, incorrectly stated that Hall had mounted the pavement to avoid a red traffic light.

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