A devious taxi driver shattered the dreams of a dedicated cyclist after ploughing into his bike at 60pmh, then tried to delete evidence he had been on his phone at the time.
Victim Ian Isted had planned to celebrate his 50th birthday by taking part in the Ironman triathlon contest but was left severely injured when he was flung off his bike.
On January 6, 2019, cabbie Kashrap Patel, from Tunbridge Wells, was using two mobile phones shortly before ploughing into the back of Mr Isted's bike, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
Defence barrister Ian Dear said Patel's "mindless stupidity" had caused the life-changing injuries which had ruined the victim's plans to compete in the Ironman challenge.
After the crash on the A228 dual carriageway near East Peckham, police seized his two phones but then the cabbie used the internet to erase all the phone data remotely to try and hide the fact he was using them at the time.
Now Patel, 39, of Theodore Close, Tunbridge Wells, has been jailed for two years and eight months after admitting his driving was dangerous when he caused Mr Isted serious injuries and also perverting the course of justice.
Prosecutor Peter Forbes said on that Sunday morning, Mr Isted had gone cycling dressed in a helmet, hi-vis jacket, trousers and gloves and his bike had powerful lights – and a passing motorist had commented that he was clearly visible a half mile ahead.
A car following Patel's Ford Tourneo van saw the cyclist and moved into the outer lane, but Patel – travelling at 60 mph – drove straight into Mr Isted "with no attempt to brake, swerve or take any other evasive action".
Mr Isted, from Maidstone, was thrown into the air and lost consciousness after hitting the road. He was later taken to hospital and treated for multiple spinal fractures which may result in the project manager having to retire early from his job.
He revealed that after the accident his two children had lost any desire to cycle and he had given up on his hope of competing in the major triathlon event.
Mr Isted, a keen badminton player and golfer, wrote that he struggles to recall the accident, adding: "Most of it is black, apart from laying on the road and looking up and seeing people..and thinking to myself this isn't good."
His wife Gail, in her Victim Personal Statement, told how her husband had planned doing the triathlon in his 50th year – and now being told he won't compete "has hit him quite hard."
"It was his dream and it has been taken away from him and for me it's horrible.
"I am angry that he did everything properly... but then at the end of the day it really didn't matter... he was always properly kitted out."
She revealed that Mr Isted had spoken to children at school about the accident and had shown them his helmet – telling them he was here today because of that piece of equipment.
Judge Catherine Moore said that Patel had been distracted by the use of his mobile phones.
"And soon afterwards, having left the scene, you took actions remotely to apply a factory reset on the phones.
'I would urge every cyclist – young or old – to wear a helmet every time they go out on their bike. It could just save your life too.'
"These are very serious offences. The use of mobile phones has long been recognised as having a detrimental effect on driver's ability to concentrate on the road.
"There is a need to punish you but also to deter others from acting as you did. This was not a momentary act of stupidity.
"The evidence, the police were able to get, showed repeated calls to the two mobile phones over that period... this was prolonged bad driving," she added.
Speaking afterwards Mr Isted said: “Although I was extremely unlucky to have been in this situation, I am in fact lucky to be alive and that’s because of my helmet and because of the amazing care I received from the police, paramedics and others at the scene.
"I would urge every cyclist – young or old – to wear a helmet every time they go out on their bike. It could just save your life too.”
The judge banned Patel from driving for three years and 10 months and ordered that he will have to take an extended test before driving again.