A LORRY driver, who killed a motorbike-riding Stroud dad when he suddenly slammed on his brakes and swerved across a dual carriageway lane, has been jailed for six months.
John Essex admitted causing the death of motorbike rider Martin Acock by careless driving at 8am on October 20, 2012 on the A38 Quedgeley bypass.
Gloucester Crown Court heard Essex, 48, had missed his right turning at the Kingsway junction moments before braking hard and trying to change lanes.
Prosecutor Peter Coombe told the court experts concluded he could have been trying to make an illegal right turn, but Essex claimed it was his “natural reaction” when he realised his mistake.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC said the lorry driver from Eaton Crescent, Taunton, Somerset’s reaction “bordered on dangerous”.
The court was told Mr Acock’s daughter, Samantha-Jane, 22, who was on the motorbike with him had jumped from it moments before the crash and sustained serious injuries.
Mr Acock, 43, a rugby player from Paganhill, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Prosecutor Mr Coombes told the court eyewitness, Maria Bradley, said he was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle “at a steady speed and not going fast”.
He said Essex’s 7.5 tonne truck had slowed down from speeds of around 47mph to just 16mph in a matter of seconds.
Witnesses claimed Essex said after the crash: “I did not see him. He’s not moving. I think he is dead. I think I have killed him.”
Essex initially denied the charge and told police in interview he thought Mr Acock was speeding, which was not the case. He eventually pleaded guilty earlier this year.
A statement from the family, read out to the court, said: “No action taken can return Martin to his family or reduce their pain and suffering.
“We do wish he pleaded guilty 12 months ago as it would have avoided 12 months of worry and concern.”
Mr Coombe said his 22-year-old daughter suffered a fractured pelvis.
Judge Tabor said: “She is quite plainly suffering most desperately from Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome and needs help with that.
“Not only was one man killed, but another person was seriously injured and he was obviously mortified about what he had done.
“It was a terrible piece of driving - to jam on your brakes so you slow down to 16mph on a dual carriage.
“There are no winners in cases like this, but there are only losers and sadly there are losers way beyond those who are immediately involved.”
Defending Ian Dixey said: “He is deeply deeply sorry for his actions and he, like the family, is going to have to deal with this for the rest of his life.
“You will see the profound affect this case has had on him.
“He said he never had any intention of making an illegal turn.
“This is a case of somebody that was braking and moving when it was unsafe to do so because there was a motorbike behind him and he accepts that was careless.
“He was clearly absolutely upset. This was a man who was driving perfectly legally, going about his work and made a catastrophic error.”
Jailing him for six months, judge Tabor, said: “I have no doubt the defendant has bitterly regretted his actions since the moment his vehicle came to a stop.”
He banned him for driving for three years.
Mr Acock left behind Lorraine, his partner of nearly 20 years, and four children, Leanne, Suzie, Sammy and Daniel.