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Ironman triathlete paralysed after driver hit motorbike in Hildenborough

A driver left an ironman triathlete paralysed after her car ploughed into his motorbike on a "crystal clear" day.

Noel Miles, also a keen marathon runner, tennis player, skier, footballer, golfer and swimmer, suffered catastrophic injuries in the crash as he was travelling to work.

Noel, Murray and Emily during the challenge
Noel, Murray and Emily during the challenge

A court heard how NHS mental support worker Lisa Gough, 45, failed to spot him travelling towards her on his Kawasaki W800 as she turned off the B2070 in Hildenborough.

Mr Miles had to be airlifted to London's King's College Hospital with chest and lung injuries, and fractures to his spine, right thigh and kneecap, and shoulder joint.

Gough hugged her partner before being led to the cells at Maidstone Crown Court to begin a 10-month sentence - she was also banned from driving for two years and five months.

Judge Philip St John-Stevens told her he had "grappled" with whether or not to suspend the sentence for the "catastrophic" consequences on the lives of Mr Miles and his family.

"But that was a day which changed the lives of many," he said.

The court heard how the spinal fracture resulted in paraplegia and multiple injuries to 47-year-old Mr Miles' left knee led to an above-the-knee amputation.

He told the judge in a victim impact statement how his life had been turned "upside down" by the incident - severely impacting his role as a father and husband.

A jury decided that Gough had been driving dangerously in her Ford Kuga which caused the collision on Stocks Green Road at the junction with Rings Hill shortly after 8.30am on September 17, 2019.

Ironman triathlete Noel Miles was knocked off his motorbike on his way to work Stock picture
Ironman triathlete Noel Miles was knocked off his motorbike on his way to work Stock picture

Prosecutor Amy Nicholson said Gough's driving was dangerous because "she did not see him on a clear as crystal day".

Gough, of Powder Mills, Leigh, had denied causing serious injury by dangerous driving but was found guilty by the jury on a 10 to 2 majority after five hours' deliberations.

Mr Miles, who had held a driving licence for 25 years and been a motorcyclist for three years, was "a cautious rider who only chose to go out when the weather was fine", said the prosecutor.

The loving dad had been wearing a white helmet with headlights and protective clothing with luminous markings.

The prosecutor said: "In short, he had done anything he could to make himself visible to all road users."

But as he approached the junction with Rings Hill at a speed between 30-40mph, he saw a VW Passat waiting at the give way markings and the oncoming Kuga in a filter lane.

Miss Nicholson added: "Mr Miles had right of way and had absolutely no reason to think either vehicle had not seen him.

"It was then that the defendant turned right across Mr Miles's path. She struck him with her vehicle. He had no time to react at all."

The prosecutor: "This case is simply about serious driver error. The standard of driving fell far below that expected of a careful and competent driver, and that standard of driving was obviously dangerous.

"We say it was dangerous because she did not see Mr Miles, she did not see him on a clear as crystal day. She didn't see him and drove straight into him."

The judge also heard how his son has since raised £12,000 for the air ambulance service.

Last February the Kent, Surrey and Sussex air ambulance revealed Noel, wife Emily and son Murray, then six, had undertaken a 31-mile month-long challenge in one day.

Previously, Murray had run a marathon over five consecutive days at the age of just five.

Mr Miles, of Chelwood Gate, East Sussex, said at the time: “I am hugely grateful to the team who saved my life and it is really important to me to support this vital charity.

"To be able to undertake this challenge with my family meant everything to me. When things were a little tough along the way, we all thought of the amazing service that KSS provides and that saw us through with smiles on our faces. I am incredibly proud of Emily and Murray for their strength, determination and resilience in completing this challenge.”

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