Halesworth motorist denies causing death of Needham Market teenager Darnell Meade

Darnell Meade

Darnell Meade - Credit: Archant

A 61-year-old north Suffolk van driver has appeared in court to be charged in connection with the death of a 19-year-old motorcyclist near Ipswich.

David Thomas pleaded not guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court to causing the death of Darnell Meade through careless or inconsiderate driving.

Mr Meade, of Needham Market, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The tragedy occurred on April 24 last year on the C492 Norwich Road at the junction with Sandy Lane in Barham, just outside Claydon.

Thomas, of Old Station Road, Halesworth was summonsed to court yesterday to be formally charged with the offence.

After entering his plea of not guilty he elected for a trial by jury to be held at Ipswich Crown Court.

During the hearing the Crown Prosecution Service was represented by Ian Devine and Thomas was represented by his solicitor Rob Pollington.

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Thomas had been driving a Ford Transit at the time of the tragedy. Mr Meade, a father-of-one, was riding a Kawasaki.

At the end of yesterday’s hearing the case was sent to the town’s crown court.

Thomas is due to make his next appearance on May 24 at a pre-trial management hearing.

He was released on unconditional bail until then.

Three of Mr Meade’s family members were in court to watch the proceedings.

Shortly after Mr Meade’s death his family released a tribute.

The Leeds-born teenager left behind a partner Sorrell Chatfield and a 19-month-old daughter Brooklyn.

He was said to be a talented chef and had been training to pursue it as a career.

Mr Meade worked at the Lion public house in Ipswich Road, Needham Market.

His family said: “His laughter, wise words, optimistic attitude, kind heart and warm smile touched the lives on many near and far.

“His strong spirit will always live on and will never be forgotten by those who loved him.”

Mr Meade died less than two weeks before what would have been his 20th birthday.