Published: 12:00, 12 March 2015
| Updated: 12:29, 12 March 2015
A van driver involved in a fatal accident with a teenage cyclist had been texting his lover at the time of crash, it has been alleged.
Philip Sinden was at the wheel of his Vauxhall Vivaro van when it struck 18-year-old Daniel Squire on the A258 at Ringwould last September.
But now a jury has heard that the 36-year-old driver, formerly of New Townsend Farm, St Margaret's-at-Cliffe, had swapped more than 40 text messages that morning.
Sinden has pleaded not guilty to causing the death of Daniel by driving dangerously.
The trial at Canterbury Crown Court was delayed a day after a second jury had to be sworn in when lawyers realised two jurors had possible connections to family members.
Judge Heather Norton told the new panel that the case involved the death of a young man and therefore was “an emotional case”.
But she warned them: “You have to consider this case not on emotions, not on sympathy, not on prejudice but on calm analysis of the evidence.”.
Prosecutor Dale Sullivan told the hearing that the collision took place between Sinden’s van and Daniel’s bike “just before” 8.41am – which was a key time.
“The defendant had been 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 on the A258 through Ringwould.
He was struck by Sinden’s van, knocking him off his bike and into the road.
A first aider and two nurses who were travelling along the same stretch of road in separate vehicles went to help as Daniel lay in the road – but he died from his injuries the following day, the court heard.
"The defendant had been 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..." - Prosecutor Dale Sullivan
Mr Sullivan claimed Sinden stopped his van 100 metres away and returned to the scene of the accident telling one person: “I did not see the cyclist. I swerved to go around the cyclist and he swerved.”
The van driver is alleged to have told another person that someone had “flashed him” to warn him there was a pedestrian in the road and he had slowed down.
He said he drove around the walker but “just did not see the cyclist”, the prosecutor added.
Police were alerted and asked Sinden for his mobile phone, but said he claimed he didn’t know where it was.
An officer called the number and discovered it ringing under a black refuse bag on the passenger seat.
When he was questioned by police, the driver is alleged to have told officers that after swerving around the walker, a piece of lighting equipment and a laptop computer fell.
“He said that after going around the walker, he removed the two items which had fallen onto his lap and put them onto the passenger seat.
“At this point he said he was possibly 10 to 12 seconds away from the point of collision when he noticed the cyclist who he claimed rode off the pavement and onto the road without looking, “ the prosecutor said.
Mr Sullivan said it was then taken away for analysis where text messages were discovered between the driver and his partner.
“From 6.07 am to 8.32am he had sent 19 texts and received 22. They continued texting until she sent a message at 8.39.49.
Then Sinden is alleged to have composed a message at around 8.40am which was never sent.
Police were alerted at 8.41.44 about the accident after another driver dialled 999.
The trial continues.
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