By Court Reporter Monday 02 December 2013 Updated: 02/12 13:50
A REDDITCH motorcyclist was killed and another rider suffered horrific injuries when a pensioner made a right turn in front of them, giving them no chance to avoid a collision.
A judge heard Land Rover driver David Brown had simply not seen the two machines before making his manoeuvre, even though they had been in view for several seconds.
Brown, 76 and of Gorsey Lane in Wythall, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing the death of 32-year-old Rafal Lorenz by careless driving.
He was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 12 months, banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended test if he ever wants to get his licence back, and ordered to pay £400 costs.
The crash happened on September 1 last year at the junction of the A4189 Redditch to Henley-in-Arden Road and Ullenhall Road.
As Brown made the turn Mr Lorenz's Suzuki hit the front of the Land Rover and burst into flames as he was thrown over the bonnet.
Krzysztof Berk, who had been riding with Mr Lorenz and his brother Kamil who was ahead of them when the incident occurred, tried to swerve to his right but hit the rear section of the Land Rover and was also thrown into the road.
Both men were rushed to hospital where Mr Lorenz, of Oakenshaw Road, Redditch, died from his injuries which included a fractured spine.
Mr Berk also suffered a fractured spine, for which he had to undergo an eight-hour operation and was immobilised for three-and-a-half weeks, a ruptured spleen and had the majority of his ribs broken.
Christopher Mathias, who was behind Brown, said Brown had been doing no more than 40mph and had slowed down and was correctly positioned to make the right turn.
He said he saw the two bikes less than 100 metres away and realised Brown would have to stop to let them pass before making the right turn - but he did not and continued to turn straight in front of them.
In a written statement Brown said he had been shopping with his wife and was not in a particular hurry but believed the road was clear. He added since the accident he had suffered flashbacks and struggled to come to terms with what happened, while he had also given up his licence and never intended to drive again.
Sarah Allen, for Brown, said: "All he can do is to extend his deepest sympathy to the Lorenz family and to the Berk family. Those six seconds have changed the lives of a number of people forever."
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told Brown it was a catastrophe for everyone involved.
"There are lessons for all of us who drive in cases like this."
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