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Home   Sittingbourne   News   Article

Sittingbourne lorry driver Brian Walden jailed after Ramsgate cyclist Stephen Van Hinsberh killed in overtaking tragedy on A299 Thanet Way

20 December 2013
by KentOnline reporter

Stephen Van Hinsbergh was killed in the crash

Stephen Van Hinsbergh was killed in the crash

A Sittingbourne lorry driver has been jailed for a year after he admitted causing the death of a cyclist on the A299 Thanet Way.

Brian Walden was found not guilty of causing Stephen Van Hinsbergh's death by dangerous driving, but had earlier admitted causing death by careless driving.

The 40-year-old and father-of-five, of Newbridge Avenue, was also banned from driving for three years by Judge Adele Williams at Canterbury Crown Court.

She told Walden: "You said you had pulled out to go around the cyclist, but the evidence before me from three eyewitnesses was that you did not pull out and your vehicle was weaving."

Judge Williams said she found very moving a report from Mr Van Hinsbergh's family of the effect of his death on them.

Ramsgate father Mr Van Hinsbergh, 57, of Hibernia Street, died at the scene of the crash opposite the former Roman Galley pub on August 13 last year.

The court heard Walden had made deliveries with the frozen food vehicle in Whitstable and Margate during the morning.

He was on his way back to London when the crash happened just before midday.

Walden told police he first saw the cyclist when he was about 200 yards ahead of him.

The scene of the fatal crash on the A299 Thanet Way

The scene of the fatal crash on the A299 Thanet Way

After checking his mirror he moved out, allowing what he believed to be enough room for the lorry to pass Mr Van Hinsbergh safely.

But when he was overtaking the bike, Walden told investigators he saw the wing mirror bend inwards and the glass then shattered. His mirror had hit Mr Van Hinsbergh's helmet.

He stopped the lorry and ran back to check what had happened and found Mr Van Hinsbergh lying face down in the road.

"This was clearly an error of judgement on the part of Walden which had tragic consequences for Mr Van Hinsbergh and a devastating effect on his family..." - PC Glen Braidwood

Rachel Cooper, defending, said Walden had been a lorry driver for 15 years without incident - but no longer wanted to carry on this employment. He thought about the crash every day, he said.

His wife and children - aged 15, 14, 11, eight and six - had suffered as the family had declared themselves bankrupt.

Miss Cooper said: "His actions have devastated Mr Van Hinsbergh's family and also his own."

PC Glen Braidwood said: "This was clearly an error of judgement on the part of Walden which had tragic consequences for Mr Van Hinsbergh and a devastating effect on his family.

"I hope the prison term will serve as a warning to all drivers using our Kent roads, particularly lorry drivers, that they must afford plenty of room to cyclists when they are overtaking."

At the time of his death, Mr Van Hinsbergh was described by his family as a "beloved father, son, brother and friend".

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