Death crash Newbiggin driver walks free from court
Newbiggin pizza-delivery man David Pescod has been spared jail after becoming one of the first drivers in the country to be convicted of the new charge of causing death by driving without insurance.
But as Pescod walked out of Newcastle Crown Court to get on with the rest of his life, the heartbroken mum of the 18-year-old cyclist he killed spoke of her disappointment that a judge missed this opportunity to set a legal precedent that could have made the region's roads safer.
Pescod, 23, of North View, Newbiggin, was yesterday handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after admitting causing the death of Michael Turner while driving uninsured.
It was the first time anyone in the North East has been charged with the offence, which was introduced in 2008.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and Michael's grieving mum, Gail Burn (pictured below), had hoped the judge would make an example of Pescod.
As well as the suspended prison sentence, he was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Gail, 48, said: "We are all disappointed with the sentence. We are very upset.
"He should never have been on the roads and if he hadn't been on the road that day my son would still be here today.
"People need to think about driving and the responsibility that comes with it. When you get behind the wheel of a car you are responsible for other people's lives."
Michael suffered severe head injuries when he was knocked off his BMX bike by Pescod's Citroen C2 while crossing Hawthorn Road, in Ashington last March.
He clung on to life at Newcastle General Hospital for a week after the collision before his mum and dad, Michael Turner senior, 45, took the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life-support machine.
Pescod had been delivering pizzas at the time of the collision. An accident investigation found no fault with his speed or the manner of his driving, but found he did not have valid insurance for the vehicle.
Pescod, who had no previous convictions, last month pleaded guilty to causing death while uninsured and having defective tyres on the day of the fatal accident.
Michael Graham, prosecuting, explained: "During the collision Michael Turner was thrown onto the bonnet, against the windscreen and onto the roof of the car before landing on the road. He suffered significant head injuries and never regained consciousness."
Pescod stopped his car immediately after the accident, the court heard and police officers found him in a state of shock.
Police accident investigators concluded that his car had been in its own lane when the collision occurred and that all evidence suggested the impact had occurred at low speed.
Michael's BMX bike was not fitted with lights or brakes and the teenager had not been wearing high-visibility clothing.
Subsequent inquiries revealed Pescod had twice failed to produce a valid insurance certificate after being stopped by police.
Though he had taken out an insurance policy and paid a deposit, his insurers wrote to him to say they would be cancelling the agreement in the September before the crash because he defaulted on payments.
Defending, Shaun Routledge told the court Pescod was a hard-working man who had done well at school and never before been in trouble with the law.
"His remorse is heartfelt," he said. "Immediately after the collision he was heard to say 'I hope the lad is all right'. He was ashen-faced when the first police officers attended the scene."
Judge David Hodson said: "It should be brought home to everyone that if anyone is tempted to take a vehicle on to a road when they are not insured and a death occurs that driver will be facing a sentence of imprisonment."
No further sentences were passed for the additional charges.
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