Chauffeur Raymond Anokye-Amponsah jailed after causing death by dangerous driving of James Shaw in Edenbridge
A chauffeur who killed a motorcyclist while "under pressure" to get his passenger to the airport has been jailed for four years and four months.
Raymond Anokye-Amponsah, 53, struck 41-year-old James Shaw after failing to stop at the junction between Four Elms Road and Bough Beech Road in Edenbridge on January 27 last year.
Maidstone Crown Court heard that Anokye-Amponsah, who was at the wheel of a BMW 520, "effectively ignored" four stop road signs as he approached the junction and hit Mr Shaw side on.
The collision caused Mr Shaw's Honda XL700 motorcycle to hit the garden wall of a nearby house.
A cyclist later told police that the BMW came "straight out at speed".
Mr Shaw, who lived in Sevenoaks, was travelling along Four Elms Road with his headlightd on and wearing a high visibility tabard.
He was, said prosecutor Martin Yale, "there for all to see".
Several people tried to help Mr Shaw, including a passing GP and police officers. The Kent Air Ambulance was also alerted but Mr Shaw was pronounced dead at the scene.
Anokye-Amponsah, of Vivian Gardens, Wembley, north west London, originally denied causing death by dangerous driving but pleaded guilty on the day his trial was due to start.
Jailing him today, Judge Michael Carroll said despite being aware of the traffic signs to stop at the junction, Anokye-Amponsah had "merely slowed down".
He added that had he stopped he would have seen Mr Shaw, who had no chance to avoid the BMW.
"The traffic going across you had precedence and you should have stopped to check the way was clear for you to proceed," said the judge.
"You effectively ignored all the warning signs to stop. You were under pressure, whether real or imagined, but you were a professional driver and should be used to driving in unfamiliar locations.
"Having not stopped you were unable to carry out a proper, safe check as to traffic."
The court heard that Anokye-Amponsah had been a chauffeur for 12 years.
On the day of the fatal collison, he had difficulty finding the address of his passenger, who was due to fly out from Heathrow Airport to New York on business.
He had been due to collect the passenger at 12.30pm but did not arrive until 1.15pm.
Mr Yale said that as they approached the junction, Anokye-Amponsah was being given directions by the businessman.
He told the court that at the time of the collison, the BMW would have been travelling "significantly higher" than 5mph - the speed later given by the chauffeur to police - but it could not be said by how much.
After hitting father-of-two Mr Shaw, Anokye-Amponsah was said to have told a 15-year-old boy who went to help that he had not seen Mr Shaw and that he "came from nowhere".
"You effectively ignored all the warning signs to stop. You were under pressure, whether real or imagined, but you were a professional driver and should be used to driving in unfamiliar locations" - Judge Michael Carroll
The prosecutor added: "He said he was also under a lot of pressure to get this man to the airport."
Anokye-Amponsah told police he had slowed at the junction and looked.
"He said the motorcyclist was just there in front of him and it was too late to stop," said Mr Yale.
"He claimed he slowed down to 5mph, there was nothing to block his view and didn't see anything so, to use his words, decided to shoot straight across."
A forensic collision investigator later concluded that had he stopped, Mr Shaw would have been in view for up to 190m.
Mr Yale added, however, that although Mr Shaw would have been a lot closer when the BMW emerged from the junction, Anokye-Amponsah would have had "every opportunity to see Mr Shaw and respond to his presence" if he had stopped.
The courtroom was packed with family and friends of Mr Shaw. Several victim impact statements were handed to the judge but not read out in open court.
Before passing sentence, Judge Carroll remarked that nothing he said or did could compensate for their loss.
Anokye-Amponsah said in his basis of plea that he was "very sorry" for his actions.
Adrian Rohard, defending, added that he also accepted he should have stopped.
The court heard his six-year-old son, with whom he lived alone, will now be cared for by relatives.
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