Farmer who killed biker in crash gets his licence back

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A poultry farmer who killed a motorcyclist in an accident has had his driving ban reduced so he can sell his own eggs.

Richard Clement has been paying others or getting friends to sell the produce from his smallholding in East Devon since he was disqualified in July 2018.

He was banned from driving after he admitted causing the death of 33-year-old biker Richard Earnshaw in a crash on the A3052 at Rousden, near Colyton, on June 11, 2017.

The four-year ban was due to expire next year but 78-year-old Clement will now be able to return to the road a year early if he passes an extended re-test.

The judge who imposed the original ban at Exeter Crown Court suggested he should never drive again because of his age.

However, he applied to a different Judge to have the disqualification and Judge David Evans reduced the ban to three years.

He was told that Clement has not been in any kind of trouble, had a clean driving licence before the accident, and will need to prove he is capable of driving before being allowed back on the road.

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Clement, who represented himself, said he has not made any money out of his poultry business since being disqualified because he has been paying others to drive his eggs to the shops where they are sold.

Miss Emily Heggadon, for the police, said they were neutral about the application.

In the original case, Clement, of Mounthill Lane, Musbury, admitted causing death by careless driving. He was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years, banned from driving for four years, and ordered to pay £640 costs.

The judge at that hearing was told he drove his Iveco van onto the A3052 without looking and went directly into the path of experienced biker Mr Earnshaw, who had no chance of avoiding the collision.

Mr Earnshaw braked hard and tried to swerve away but was thrown against Clement’s van and died three days later from head and neck injuries.

In a victim impact statement, his fiancée Joanna Huxford, wrote: “Richard loved spending time with his family and mates, mountain biking and sailing. He was 6’6’’ tall and had a huge laugh. He was gregarious and would help strangers in the street and befriend anyone he met.

“He looked out for his family, who have already had too much tragedy. He wanted to have children. All that has gone.

“We were engaged to be married but now I can no longer afford to stay in our house, even if I wanted to. I have struggled to do my job and had to take time off.”

Sentencing in 2018, Judge David Ticehurst told him: “From what I have observed of you in court, I am doubtful whether you should ever be driving again. You don’t strike me as having the facilities you need to be allowed to drive on the road.

“In my judgment, you should not be allowed to drive again in the future. You are not up to it and will be even worse in four years time.

“You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of the way you behaved that day.”