Case Study

18-year-old Daniel Squire killed near Dover

Incident date: 
Sat, 7 Sep 2013

Police are appealing for witnesses after a cyclist was killed following a crash near Dover on Saturday 7th September.

Emergency services were called at around 8.40am after a cyclist riding along the A258 Dover Road from Dover, towards Ringwould, was hit by a blue Vauxhall Vivaro van travelling in the same direction.

The rider of the cycle suffered serious injuries and was taken by air ambulance to King’s College Hospital in London, where he died on Sunday afternoon.

  • UPDATE (12/09/13)

The cyclist has been named as 18-year-old Daniel Squire, from St Margaret’s.

Gary Holmes, vice-chairman of Deal Tri, described Daniel as a “lovely lad” who was training for the 2014 Iron Man in Bolton.

“He was always happy, good company and mixed with club members much older as an equal. He will be sorely missed by everyone,” said Mr Holmes.

  • UPDATE (25/03/14)

A van driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing Daniel’s death by dangerous driving.

The 36-year-old, from St Margaret’s at Cliffe, has been issued with a summons to appear before Canterbury magistrates.

The man, who has not yet been named, is due in court on Friday, April 25.

  • UPDATE (25/04/14)

The defendant appeared at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Friday April 25th and pleaded not guilty to the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

A preliminary hearing will be held on May 12th.

  • UPDATE (18/09/14)

Philip Sinden appeared in court on 17th September to deny causing Daniel Squire’s death by dangerous driving.

Sinden will be tried at Canterbury Crown Court in March 2015.

  • UPDATE 20/11/14

A ghost bike has been installed at the location where Daniel was killed as a permanent reminder to motorists to ‘think bike’.

  • UPDATE 10/03/15

The trial for causing death by dangerous driving began on March 9th at Canterbury Crown Court.

Representatives of the campaign group SPOKES East Kent are attending the trial on behalf of the Road Justice campaign.

  • UPDATE 13/03/15

The court heard that the van driver Philip Sinden had been texting at the wheel before the crash and possibly at the time of the crash.

The 36-year-old driver, formerly of New Townsend Farm, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe, had swapped more than 40 text messages that morning.

The trial at Canterbury Crown Court was delayed a day after a second jury had to be sworn in when lawyers realised two jurors had possible connections to family members.

Prosecutor Dale Sullivan told the hearing that the collision took place between Sinden’s van and Daniel’s bike “just before” 8.41am – which was a key time.

“The defendant had been using his mobile phone either just before or at the time of the impact and he failed to react to the presence of Daniel who was in front of his vehicle until the very last moment,” he claimed.

Mr Sullivan told how Daniel had been cycling along the Dover to Deal road from his mother’s home heading towards his father’s home on the A258 through Ringwould.

He was struck by Sinden’s van, knocking him off his bike and into the road.

A first aider and two nurses who were travelling along the same stretch of road in separate vehicles went to help as Daniel lay in the road – but he died from his injuries the following day, the court heard.

Mr Sullivan claimed Sinden stopped his van 100 metres away and returned to the scene of the accident telling one person: “I did not see the cyclist. I swerved to go around the cyclist and he swerved.”

The van driver is alleged to have told another person that someone had “flashed him” to warn him there was a pedestrian in the road and he had slowed down.

He said he drove around the walker but “just did not see the cyclist”, the prosecutor added.

Police were alerted and asked Sinden for his mobile phone, but said he claimed he didn’t know where it was.

An officer called the number and discovered it ringing under a black refuse bag on the passenger seat.

When he was questioned by police, the driver is alleged to have told officers that after swerving around the walker, a piece of lighting equipment and a laptop computer fell.

“He said that after going around the walker, he removed the two items which had fallen onto his lap and put them onto the passenger seat.

“At this point he said he was possibly 10 to 12 seconds away from the point of collision when he noticed the cyclist who he claimed rode off the pavement and onto the road without looking, “ the prosecutor said.

Mr Sullivan said it was then taken away for analysis where text messages were discovered between the driver and his partner.

“From 6.07 am to 8.32am he had sent 19 texts and received 22. They continued texting until she sent a message at 8.39.49.

Then Sinden is alleged to have composed a message at around 8.40am which was never sent.

Police were alerted a 8.40.44 about the accident after another driver dialled 999.

The trial continues.

  • UPDATE 20/03/15

Philip Sinden has been cleared of causing Daniel’s death. He was acquitted of causing death by dangerous driving and a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving which was also presented to the jury.

Since the incident Daniel’s family has worked hard to raise money for the Kent Air Ambulance through fun days, runs, quizzes, football matches and donations on Daniel’s Just Giving page, generating thousands of pounds.

Daniel’s family has since called for tougher laws on texting whilst driving.

His dad Symon told the BBC: “Using mobile phones in cars is not only a legal issue, it’s a moral issue as well. People need to take a moral stand.”

Speaking to the BBC, Daniel’s mother, Tracy, said: “If you are caught drink-driving you lose your licence. No questions asked. For me, if you are either on your phone or texting on your phone you have lost your liberty to drive.”

  • UPDATE 08/05/15

Following Daniel’s death, the East Kent Mercury has unveiled its ‘Why Risk it?’ scheme, aimed at reminding those behind the wheel of the dangers posed by not concentrating on the road.

The Mercury has won the backing of Daniel’s family, who will join the paper in giving away free stickers bearing the campaign’s slogan, pictured below.

Daniel’s father Symon, himself an avid cyclist, said: “We fully support the Mercury’s Why Risk It? campaign and we hope it reminds drivers who see the stickers in car windows that sending just one message isn’t worth it.”

Mercury editor Graham Smith said: “We want to remind all motorists to wait or pull over instead of texting when they are behind the wheel.”

  • UPDATE 26/05/15

Daniel’s mum, Tracy Squire, has helped spread the ‘Why Risk It?’ message by handing out car stickers at a Sainsburys in Deal. She handed out over 500 stickers to shoppers and spoke to them about the risks of texting and driving.

Tracy plans to hand out more stickers at other sites in Kent.

CTC's view: 

CTC is disgusted that someone can be acquitted of causing a death following such clearly dangerous behaviour just seconds before the collision took place.

Road Justice campaigners from cycling campaign group SPOKES East Kent will soon be compiling a report of the trial.

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