81-year-old woman driver cleared of motorcyclist's death
AN elderly Boston woman who had been accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless, inconsiderate driving has been cleared.
Dorothy French, 81, of Somersby Green, Boston, was found not guilty of causing the death of motorcyclist Robert Ellerby in a collision on March 11, 2012.
She appeared before the District Judge, John Stobbart at Boston Magistrates Court.
The judge heard that French had been out to lunch with her husband at the Massingberd Arms in South Ormsby before the crash happened.
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Mr Beale, prosecuting, told the court that Mrs French, who was 80 at the time, had eaten lunch and was heading off at about 1.30pm from a layby used for parking opposite the pub.
The court heard that Mr Ellerby had been coming along the Bluestone Heath Road and had to place his brakes on so hard that it caused the wheels on his motorbike to lock.
He said: "Mr French drove to the pub and Mrs French took over the driving.
"As she approached the junction of the Bluestone Heath Road she pulled in front of the motorcycle."
Mr Beale said that Mrs French had failed to stop at the junction before taking a right turn on the main road where the collision happened and Mr Ellerby's legs ended up under the wheel of the car.
But evidence given from the collision investigation team was inconclusive and could not prove this.
There was also no evidence to show what speed Mrs French or Mr Ellerby were travelling at.
Defending for Mrs French, Mr May-Smith said: "The allegation says French did not brake but there is no evidence to prove that she broke or that she did not brake. I think there is insufficient evidence to convict French in this case."
Summing up Judge Stobbart said: "I am going to find this defendant not guilty.
"This was an unfortunate accident in the proper meaning of the word. Two people and two vehicles wanted to be in the same place at the same time. The motorcyclist came off worse.
"Bluestone Heath Road is a place of natural beauty but it is an incredibly dangerous road and popular with motorcyclists.
"Mrs French came in to the crossroads from a minor road. She says that she recognised the danger of this road set up and took some time before she set off.
"The motorcycle collided with the rear wing and Mr Ellerby with the mid-portion of the car. It is apparent that he lost control of the motorcycle. It is apparent he did not start braking on the bike until the car was well in to its manoeuvre.
"I am impressed by Mrs French and the candid way she never tried to keep anything from the court."