Community order for driver who caused death of Hartford man Andy Symmons

The scene of the incident, near Lancaster Way, in Huntingdon.

The scene of the incident, near Lancaster Way, in Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

A van driver who admitted he failed see a motorcyclist riding in the opposite direction moments before a fatal collision has been given a community order.

Colin Barnett, 34, was driving a Mercedes Sprinter van on the junction of Ermine Street and Lancaster Way, in Huntingdon, on February 10, last year, when he collided with a blue Kawasaki motorcycle. As a result of the incident, the rider of the motorcycle, 44-year-old Andy Symmons, of Barn Close, in Hartford, died at the scene.

Barnett appeared at Peterborough Crown Court on January 26, wearing a black suit with a blue shirt and tie, and admitted to a single count of causing death by careless driving.

The court heard he crossed into a hatched area of the Ermine Business Park junction and did not see the bike.

Lindsay Cox, prosecuting, said: “The defendant failed to see Mr Symmons riding south, although other motorists did see Mr Symmons, he [Barnett] should have, as the visibility for the road was 265 meters.

“Impact happened immediately, why is unclear. The defendant was tested for alcohol and drugs, which were both negative, and there was nothing to suggest he was on his mobile.”

It was revealed by defence barrister, Ian Bridge, that before sentencing some members of Mr Symmons’ family spoke to dad-of-two Barnett outside the court room.

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“The defendant relives the collision daily, he wishes that he could turn back the clock,” Mr Bridge said.

Barnett, of Stevenage, has been a delivery driver since 2002 and has been working for a wholesale butchers.

“This is, in fact, a man, who apart from this terrible incident is a really safe driver, who has three points on his licence, but not a man who ignores the rules of the road,” added Mr Bridge.

“The defendant has always said he looked, but he couldn’t understand why he didn’t see him [Mr Symmons].”

In sentencing, judge, Sean Enright, said the death of Mr Symmons had caused “significant stress, upset and loss” to his family.

“I cannot turn the clocks back nor can you. There was not a restricted view and

quite clearly you should have seen the motorcycle approaching, but you didn’t”,

Mr Enright concluded.

Barnett was given a 12-month community order, 180 hours of unpaid work and

was disqualified from driving for one year.