Case Study

Anthony Hilson, 46, killed cycling on the A4 - driver sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving (16/9/12)

A driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after Anthony Hilson was killed cycling on the A4 at Hare Hatch, near Twyford, Berkshire, on a Sunday morning.

The driver of the grey Honda Accord, 37-year-old Victoria McClure from Charvil, has been bailed until November.

  • UPDATE 09/01/13

McClure has been bailed a second time until Jan 17th and will appear at Reading Magistrates Court.

  • UPDATE 28/03/13

McClure will stand trial on July 22nd.

She pleaded guilty to killing Anthony Hilson on the A4 near Twyford on September 16 when she appeared at Reading Crown Court on Wednesday March 27th.

She claims Mr Hilson’s death was caused by careless rather than dangerous driving as she was not distracted at the wheel. Richard Clews, defending, told the court the cyclist may have been stationary at the time of the collision and that he was wearing dark clothing, making him less visible.

He said: “The evidence has to meet the high threshold for the dangerous driving conviction. I suggest that the evidence is not sufficient under the circumstances.”

Charles Ward-Jackson, prosecuting, called on evidence from an expert who estimated that when driving at 40mph to 50mph, which is what McClure claims she was doing, it would take 22 to 27 seconds to travel 500m. He said: “In this case we have an empty, open road with exceptional visibility where you can see 500m, which is about as far as you can possibly see on an open road.

Judge Zoe Smith said: “Although the defendant has accepted her driving falls below the test for a competent and careful driver, the facts are that at around 10.40am on a Sunday morning a collision occurred on the A4.

“Mr Hilson was on a bike and, even accepting that he was stationary on his bike, it would appear that there should have been some 500m in which the defendant would have been able to see him.

“It is said that he was wearing dark cloth but the fact is that the defendant did not see the cyclist until the point of collision itself. She was unable to take any diverting action.

“You could consider that she was driving along that stretch far below the standard of a competent and careful driver. I conclude that a jury could convict for dangerous driving on the facts of this case.”

  • UPDATE (24/07/13)

At the trial of Victoria McClure at Reading Crown Court, the court heard that McClure ‘drove blind’ for almost 20 seconds before hitting Anthony Hilson, allegedly using the zoom function on her car’s built-in satnav.

Prosecutor Matthew Walsh said Mr Hilson had been out for a Sunday morning ride on the A4 Bath Road near Twyford, Berkshire, where motorists typically had about 500m visibility.

He told the jury at Reading crown court: ‘Assuming she’s travelling at the speed limit of 60mph, it takes about 18 seconds to cover the distance – that’s the length of time she would have had the cyclist in her view.

‘There weren’t any skid marks on the road to suggest emergency braking or any evasive action.’

McClure, from Reading, was breathalysed at the scene and gave a negative reading, the court heard.

The trial continues and is expected to last three days.

  • UPDATE (26/07/13)

After a 4-day trial the jury unanimously returned a guilty verdict. McClure will be sentenced on August 30th at Reading Crown Court. Judge Nick Wood handed McClure an interim driving ban until she is sentenced.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that evidence showed that McClure has plenty of time to have seen and driven around Mr Hilson.

He said her playing with the sat nav was “an avoidable distraction, which caused an avoidable death”.

“It should act as a warning to others that any distraction while driving can have very serious consequences,” he said.

  • UPDATE (30/08/13)

Victoria McClure was sentenced today at Reading Crown Court. She was given an 18 month prison term, 2 and a half year driving ban and ordered to pass an extended re-test before retaining her licence (extended re-tests are compulsory for dangerous driving offences).

In issuing the sentence, the judge took into consideration several mitigating factors. He considered McClure’s good character, her charity work, the welfare of her 2 children (aged 8 and 5) who the defence argued should not be denied parental support, and he discounted McClure’s previous speeding convictions as speed was not a factor in the incident.

CTC's view: 

We are pleased that the CPS pursued a prosecution for causing death by dangerous driving. However, the sentence McClure received is below the minimum sentence for this offence as stated in the sentencing guidelines (2-5 years for a ‘low level’ offence). CTC would have preferred to see a much longer driving ban.

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