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Van driver Philip Sinden cleared of causing cyclist Daniel Squire's death in Ringwould

The trial of a man accused of killing a teenage cyclist while texting in his van ended dramatically this afternoon in NOT GUILTY verdicts.

The family of teenage cyclist Daniel Squire shouted at the jury : “Were you not listening?”, “What a waste of time” and “I can’t believe that” after the acquittal.

Philip Sinden had been at the wheel of his Vauxhall Vivaro van when it struck 18-year-old Daniel Squire on the A258 at Ringwould in September 2013.

Daniel Squire died after being knocked off his bike at Ringwould in 2013
Daniel Squire died after being knocked off his bike at Ringwould in 2013

But a jury found the 36-year-old, formerly of New Townsend Farm, Station Road, St Margarets-at-Cliffe not guilty of both causing death by dangerous driving and careless driving after a seven hour and 19 minute retirement.

After the verdicts, Judge Heather Norton expressed her “profound sympathy” with family members – who had attended every day of the trial at Canterbury Crown Court.

She told them: “I appreciate that is not the verdict you were expecting and was not the verdict you were hoping for.”

Prosecutor Dale Sullivan had told how the fatal collision took place between Mr Sinden’s van and Daniel’s bike “just before” 8.41 am last September.

Daniel Squire
Daniel Squire

He alleged: “The defendant had using his mobile phone either just before or at the time of the impact and he failed to react to the presence of Daniel who was in front of his vehicle until the very last moment,” he claimed.

Mr Sullivan told how Daniel had been cycling along the Dover to Deal road from his mother’s home heading towards his father’s home along the A258 through Ringwould.

Mr Sinden admitted swapping texts with a friend between 6 am and 7.30 am which he said were made while he was either working or visiting his parents’ farm.

“I appreciate that is not the verdict you were expecting and was not the verdict you were hoping for...” - Judge Heather Norton

His barrister John O’Higgins asked: “Were you upset or agitated as a result of your discussions?”

Sinden replied: “No”.

After leaving the farm he drove along Station Road and pulled into a layby after receiving a text and waited expecting to receive a reply.

“I didn’t receive a reply so I carried on down to the junction with the A258. I did receive a message when I got to the junction.”

He told the jury he then began typing a reply which read: ““Judges. Joubert. R. Sect” (sic)” but hadn’t realised that was what he had typed.

“I was texting just using my left hand. When I pulled out onto the road I was trying to keep my attention on the road, so I typed without looking at the phone.”

Mr Sinden claimed that as his phone had only one percent of its battery left he threw it on the passenger seat.

The ghost bike shrine on the A258, where Daniel Squire died
The ghost bike shrine on the A258, where Daniel Squire died

He said that an oncoming driver then “flashed” his lights to alert him to a pedestrian in the road and he swerved around the man.

Mr Sinden said he replaced the items and was near dog groomers when he saw a cyclist on the side of the road.

“I realised it was a cyclist on the pavement on my left hand side. He started to come off the pavement and I started to react. I started to brake and steer around the cyclist.

“It was all very quick but it seemed to me he had adjacened (sic) out slightly from the lane he should have been on.”

He told the jury that Daniel had turned around and looked behind him “just before it (the van) struck the bike”.

“He just came out more than I expected. I spiked my brakes," he added.

Mr O’Higgins asked: “The prosecution case is that you were wilfully distracted from driving because you were using your mobile phone, is that true?”

Mr Sinden replied: “No”


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