A MOTORIST who had driven for eight years without ever passing a test escaped jail after killing a cyclist.
Denis Moore, 50, regularly drove his partner’s Hyundai Matrix mobility car despite only holding a provisional licence.
Durham Crown Court was told yesterday how he was behind the wheel when he collided with cyclist James Jorgensen at 6pm on September 24 last year.
Mr Jorgensen, 55, of East Shore Village, Seaham, County Durham, was riding round a roundabout near his home when Moore’s car hit him.
He was flung to the ground and died eight days later of severe head injuries.
But Moore, 50, of Byron Terrace, Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, escaped jail after the court was told Mr Jorgensen had not been wearing a safety helmet.
Moore, who became the first defendant at Durham Crown Court to admit the relatively new charge of causing death by careless driving, was told by Judge Richard Lowden that Mr Jorgensen’s failure to wear a helmet was a “mitigating factor”.
The judge added: “No sentence I can pass can equate or is intended to equate to the worth of Mr Jorgensen’s life.”
The court was told Moore was driving at no more than 20 miles per hour when he struck the cyclist on the B1287 road at Seaham.
Ron Mitchell, representing Moore, said his client had suffered from a “momentary lapse of concentration”.
He added that his remorse was so deep that he had tried to commit suicide after the incident.
The judge sentenced him to 24 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, ordered him to be electronically tagged to stay at home between 8pm and 7am for the next three months, and banned him from driving for two years, after which he must sit an extended test.
At an earlier court hearing before Peterlee magistrates Moore’s partner Janice Bell admitted permitting him to drive her Hyundai Matrix mobility car.
He was driving without supervision, as Bell, who was in the car at the time of the accident, does not hold a licence.
The court heard Moore had been driving mobility vehicles, issued by the Department of Work and Pensions, for eight years before the accident happened.
Bell, 41, was fined £93, told to pay costs of £43, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15 and given three penalty points.
Mr Jorgensen’s family declined to comment after the court hearing yesterday.