Flowers at the spot where biker Dr Mark Williams was killed
by Keith Hunt
A Dutch lorry driver has been warned he could be jailed despite being cleared today of causing the death of a motorcyclist by dangerous driving.
Ewout Groenenberg had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to the lesser charge of causing the death Dr Mark Williams by careless driving.
But Judge Charles Byers told the 40-year-old: "You must understand you have pleaded guilty to what I regard as a serious criminal offence.
"Inevitably, it is likely you will serve an immediate custodial sentence. You must prepare yourself for that."
"inevitably, it is likely you will serve an immediate custodial sentence. you must prepare yourself for that…” – judge charles byers
Adjourning sentence until September 28, the judge said he was only granting bail on compassionate grounds, because Groenenberg's father was terminally ill.
The jury of seven women and five men took just over an hour to clear Groenenberg of the more serious charge.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Dr Williams's 750cc Moto Guzzi motorcycle struck the side of the DAF truck as it made an illegal turn across a dual carriageway on August 26 last year.
The lorry pulled out of a side road and onto the A228 Snodland by-pass.
The prosecution alleged Groenenberg either failed to see or ignored a mandatory blue 'turn left' sign when he attempted to make the right turn across the southbound carriageway, through a gap in the central reservation and join the northbound carriageway.
The driver, from Haringvliet, in Holland, had delivered a consignment of mushrooms at a Tesco depot in Strood and was having difficulty finding a second depot when he turned into the Ham Hill water treatment works.
Tony Prosser, prosecuting, said Groenenberg was exiting the side road to rejoin the A228 when he pulled directly across the motorcycle's path.
Flowers at the scene of the crash on the A228 in Snodland
Dr Williams, who lived in Oak Road, Strood, died from his injuries at the scene.
His partner was on the pillion. She suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to a London hospital.
They were heading to the New Forest for the annual Moto Guzzi Club meeting over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Groenenberg said in evidence he did not see the motorcycle, but admitted the accident was his fault.
Mr Prosser said Groenenberg had two convictions in Holland for motoring offences.