Case Study

Liverpool businessman pleads guilty to 'causing death by careless driving' of top Irish cyclist, David McCall (August 2008)

28 year-old Michael Croome hit veteran ex-professional cyclist David McCall when rushing to catch a plane.

He was charged with ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ and found guilty in March 2010. He was sentenced to 5 years in jail (maximum term is 14). He was also banned from driving for 5 years. In sentencing him the judge commented that Croome “showed an absence of emotion and empathy”.

McCall had been taking part in what has been reported by the Belfast Telegraph as a ‘cycle race’ when he was hit from behind by Croome. Croome drove on for 500 yards before stopping to check his car and then returning to the scene of the crash

It transpired that Croome had convictions for speeding and careless driving before the fatal crash, and had even been caught speeding in the period between the crash and the first trial.

However, in January 2011 his conviction was quashed and a retrial ordered. The BBC has suggested that part of the reason for quashing the conviction of ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ was that no option of ‘causing death by careless driving’ was offered. The latter offence only came into power in the same month that Croome hit McCall.

On the 13th December Croome admitted ‘causing death by careless driving’ and will be sentenced next month.

  • Update

Croome served 10 months of his 5 year term before the conviction was over-turned, he was released on an 18 month suspended sentence because of time already served. The sentence was suspended for 2 years. Croome was banned from driving for 3 years.

CTC's view: 

Yet again a case of ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ (in this case seemingly cut and dried) is being weakened to just ‘causing death by careless driving’. No doubt Croome will now receive a vastly reduced sentence – perhaps even none at all.

The move to create a ‘causing death by careless driving’ offence has coincided with a sharp reduction in the number of motorists convicted of killing on the roads from receiving custodial sentences.

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