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Killer driver escapes a custodial sentence

3 Sep 2013
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A driver who killed a cyclist on a country road in Oxfordshire last year has been sentenced to 240 hours’ unpaid work, and banned from driving for one year.

In May 2012, Paul Brown, a lock-keeper on the River Thames, hit firefighter Joseph Wilkins on the long, straight Eaton Road near Abingdon. He admitted in court that he had been eating a sandwich just beforehand; he also told police officers that he had just received a text message. A forensic investigator had told the court that Mr Wilkins would have been visible for over six seconds.

At Oxford Crown Court in August, a jury found Brown not guilty of causing death through dangerous driving. He had admitted causing death through careless driving. Nicci Saunders, Joseph Wilkins’ partner, said she was “devastated” by the verdict.

Earlier this year, national cycling campaign CTC launched Road Justice, calling for sentences that better reflect the severity of road crimes. According to CTC, “Road casualties can and should be prevented, yet the justice system is failing to ensure safety on our roads by not taking road crime seriously.”

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