Cannock driver's ‘concentration lapse’ caused motorcyclist's death on A5

By Marion Brennan | Cannock | Crime | Published:

A Cannock driver whose ‘brief lapse in concentration’ led to the death of a motorcyclist has been ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

Heather Clapton was found guilty of causing death by careless driving following a collision on the A5 on the Staffordshire-Shropshire border.

She had been on her way home after meeting a friend at The Bell Inn in Tong when her Renault Megane pulled out in front of Conna Stewart’s Suzuki motorcycle on the A5 Watling Street at Weston-under-Lizard.

A trial at Stafford Crown Court heard she had failed to check the road behind her sufficiently before performing the manoeuvre on the evening of May 1 last year.

The human resources manager claimed to have looked in her rear and wing mirrors before overtaking the car ahead of her but admitted it had been only a cursory glance.

She had seen Mr Stewart, one of several motorcyclists riding behind her, earlier but by the time she pulled out to overtake, the Suzuki was alongside her and there was a collision.

The 24-year-old motorbiking enthusiast, from Norton Canes, died at the scene. Ms Clapton, 38, had not drank alcohol at the pub earlier, the court heard, and there was no suggestion she had been speeding.

However, Judge Jonathan Salmon said: “I’m satisfied you did carry out checks prior to your manoeuvre but unfortunately and tragically those checks were insufficient. When he commenced his overtaking manoeuvre, he would have been visible in one or other of your mirrors. In a brief lapse of concentration you didn’t see the motorcycle.”

Defending, Mr Stephen Mooney, said Clapton had suffered post-traumatic stress following the incident and had not driven since

The defendant, of Union Street, Cannock, was cleared of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving by unanimous verdict. She was ordered to pay £3,000 costs and disqualified from driving for four years.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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