A LORRY driver who crushed a motorcyclist with his 26 tonne truck after “failing to see him” has avoided jail.
Andrew Patton, aged 32, appeared extremely distressed as Bolton Crown Court was told how he ploughed into victim Michael Stockton’s Yamaha motorbike in rush hour traffic in a “momentary lapse of concentration”.
Mark Kellet, prosecuting, told the court how Mr Stockton, from St Helens, was on the way to carry out some work as a joiner when he was killed in Bradford Street, The Haulgh, at about 9.10am on September 5 last year.
Mr Stockton, aged 59, had turned off the A666 northbound onto the slip road at the junction with Bradford Street and was waiting in traffic to turn right.
Mr Kellet said: “It was at that stage the defendant, in a 26 tonne tipper truck, drove along the slip road and stopped approximately a car’s length behind Mr Stockton.
“When the lights turned to green Mr Stockton went to start off but stalled or didn’t move forward.
“At that stage Patton continued to move forward, knocking him off his motorcycle.
“He was then run over by the tipper truck. He was not run over by the wheels.”
The defendant, a married father-of-one, was not aware of the crash until witnesses alerted him by banging on his windows.
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Graham Robinson, defending, said Patton was hard-working and had been allowed to continue working for his employer in a non-driving role.
He said: “He is wracked with remorse. The distress is something he will carry with him for the rest of his days.”
Patton had a previous conviction from 2001 for drink driving.
He also had three points on his licence for failing to comply to comply with a traffic signal and in 2010 was twice caught driving while on his mobile phone.
Mr Stockton was described as “a good family man” who was a decent citizen and a quiet man who “kept himself to himself”.
Judge Stead, sentencing Patton, said: “At the vital moment when Mr Stockton set off, Patton seemingly failed completely to be aware of something right in front of him.
“Many who have reflected on it would have thought: ‘for goodness sake, why didn’t he see him?”
Patton, who admitted causing death by careless driving, sobbed throughout the hearing.
He was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work, given a six-month curfew from 7pm to 5am and must pay £355 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
He was also banned from driving for a year.
You can read our live account of today's court hearing here.