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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Concentration lapse led to death of Cumbrian biker

A "monetary lapse" of concentration by a motorist led to an accident which claimed the life of a 31-year-old motorcyclist, a court was told.

Paul Fursey photo
Paul Fursey with partner Kath Baxter

Carlisle Crown Court yesterday heard heart-rending evidence about the impact of the tragedy caused by 23-year-old Jamie Alexander Crellin, of Row Brow Park, Dearham, Maryport.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to causing the death of Workington Asda store worker Paul Fursey by careless driving.

The accident happened as the defendant pulled on to the A66 from the road’s Great Broughton junction near to Cockermouth on the night of October 2 last year, said prosecutor Greg Hoare. The barrister described the junction involved as “tricky”, saying that it was one that required particular care.

Crellin later told police he believed he had checked the road, but he failed to see Mr Fursey’s bike and pulled out, causing the crash.

Later checks showed Crellin had no drugs in his body, and no alcohol. Nor had he been using a mobile phone.

“He’d borrowed his father’s car and had been to see a friend at Dearham,” said Mr Hoare.

“He’d put a CD on and it was raining heavily, and the windscreen wipers were on. He plainly didn’t see the oncoming motorbike.”

Police later confirmed that there was no high speed involved by either party in the crash.

Mr Hoare went on to outline the human impact of the tragedy, and devastating sense of loss felt by Mr Fursey’s family, including his brother, and the dead man’s partner, Kath Baxter, saying they had been “soulmates”.

Marion Weir, for Crellin, gave the judge a letter which expressed the “profound effects” of the tragedy on the defendant and his family who recognised that a man who was a brother, a son and a partner had been lost.

Miss Weir said: “For the passing of Mr Fursey, Mr Crellin first and foremost expresses his remorse and his regret, and his wish that he could turn back the clock on the night in question.”

She said there had been no question of inappropriate speed or manoeuvres used by Crellin during his journey before his arrival at the junction involved – a junction that has been the scene of many accidents.

She said: “As a result of this, Mr Crellin’s father has contacted the Highways Agency and they are considering whether there needs to be adjustments to that junction.”

Describing her client’s error as a “momentary lapse of concentration”, Miss Weir added: “In reality, there is nothing that the court can impose that would punish him more than he has punished himself over the last year.”

Crellin, a man of previous good character, was given a 12-month community order and told to complete 120 hours’ unpaid work in the community. He must also observe an 8pm to 7am curfew over the next four months and he was disqualified from driving for three years.

Mr Fursey, originally from Millom, was living in Bolton Low Houses, near Wigton, at the time of his death. He belonged to Millom Bike Group, whose members formed a cavalcade behind the hearse at his funeral.

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