Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 13:09 UK

Driver jailed over bike-tow death

A driver has been jailed for causing the death of a friend he had been towing on a bicycle.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Mark Hollister rode his mountain bike clinging to the back of a car being driven at 25mph by Jonathan Atkinson.

The front wheel of Mr Hollister's bike hit a drain in the road and spun out of control, killing him.

Atkinson 37, was jailed for three years for causing death by dangerous driving and banned for three and a half years.

Mr Hollister, 37, had drunk four cans of cider before the stunt in Easter Compton, near Bristol, in 2008, the court heard.

There was a gap of a month in which you chose to tell a determined tissue of barefaced lies
Judge Mark Horton

He died later in Frenchay Hospital, near Bristol, from multiple head injuries.

Atkinson, of Church Road, Easter Compton, called paramedics but left the scene after providing scant details.

He then lied to police, claiming he had just stopped to help the victim and had not been involved in the accident.

Then a month after the accident he was arrested and admitted his part.

Witness Nicholas Swift saw the pair drive past "whooping with shouts of excitement" moments before the accident.

He told police that both men seemed to be enjoying the stunt but he was appalled by what he saw.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Horton told Atkinson: "There was a gap of a month in which you chose to tell a determined tissue of barefaced lies.

"One of the additional and greatest hardships on a grieving family is not to know how and why a death has occurred."



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