Ipswich lorry driver could face jail

AN Ipswich lorry driver who left a cyclist fighting for his life after a road collision has been warned he could face prison later this month.Magistrates heard Brian Gooch drove his HGV lorry for almost 20 miles after he "panicked" when his vehicle collided with 53-year-old cyclist Terrence Neeson.

AN Ipswich lorry driver who left a cyclist fighting for his life after a road collision has been warned he could face prison later this month.

Magistrates heard Brian Gooch drove his HGV lorry for almost 20 miles after he "panicked" when his vehicle collided with 53-year-old cyclist Terrence Neeson. The accident occurred on an A14 slip road outside Bury St Edmunds. He only returned to the scene half and hour later.

Mr Neeson was pronounced dead at the scene and Robin Howe, chairman of the bench at Sudbury Magistrates Court, said there was no way of knowing whether Gooch driving off had contributed to the cyclist's death.

In ordering a pre-sentence report, Mr Howe told the defendant: "You were a professional driver of a large vehicle which hit a cyclist and caused a death.

"We will never know what the result might have been if you had reported the accident immediately. We are keeping all sentencing options open."

Gooch, 56, of Willowcroft Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to failing to stop after the accident and was said to be "devastated" by his actions - although his driving was not at fault after an inquest ruled a verdict of accidental death, the court heard.

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Andrew Lyons, mitigating, said: "This incident was totally out of character for my client. He frankly admits he made a terrible mistake in not stopping.

"After the accident, he simply panicked and went off, but there was some time before he could turn his lorry round safely to come back.

"He is utterly remorseful and this has had a devastating effect on him and his family. This lives with my client every day."

Ian Devine, prosecuting, said Gooch - a lorry driver for 35 years - had been aware of the collision on October 4, last year, but had returned onto the A14.

"He stopped temporarily in a lay-by where we believe he was sick. But then he got back in his lorry and continued his journey," he said.

"The accident was at 6.25am and the first police knew about it was when another driver saw the bicycle and the body on the slip road at about 7am.

"The defendant had been travelling for about 30km before he returned to the scene."

An inquest into Mr Neeson's death in April found that the cause of death was multiple injuries.

Gooch will be sentenced at Sudbury Magistrates Court on May 27.

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