Leeds motorist killed cyclist while driving ‘like an idiot’ with his daughter in the back

Robert Hall.
Robert Hall.

A DRIVER who killed a cyclist while driving “like an idiot” was told he had shown no remorse for his victim’s death as he was jailed for six years.

Robert Hall was handed the lengthy sentence after a judge heard how the family of father-of-four Andrew Wilsea, 42, had been left devastated by the loss.

Andrew Wilsea.

Andrew Wilsea.

Mr Wilsea’s sister Heather spoke at the sentencing hearing at Leeds Crown Court in which she told Hall: “You are not sad. You are not upset. You have showed no emotion.”

Hall, 31, of Throstle Place, Middleton, was found guilty of causing death dangerous driving after a trial.

A witness described how a Hall had driven like an idiot with his own daughter on the back seat.

Hall lost control of the Rover after hitting a kerb and careering across the road into Mr Wilsea’s path.

The hard-working, proud, family man had just become a father for the fourth time two weeks before the tragedy and had had just returned to work after paternity leave.

His sister described how her brother’s partner of 15-years, Grace Gartside, and their four children had suffered since the incident on Gelderd Road, Leeds, on August 18 last year.

She added: “For 42 years he was the best brother anyone could wish for. He was loving, caring and affectionate.

“He was a hard worker and he cycled to work and back every day to provide for his family.

“He (Hall) can go home again to his family. Andrew can’t go home to his children.

“I just want him to feel that hurt.”

Addressing Hall, she said: “You had your baby in that car. You could have injured her.”

Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said he believed that Hall he had lied to police after the incident.

He said: “I observed you in the witness box. You showed no remorse. You showed no real insight in to how bad your driving was.

“I am quite sure you lied to the police. You knew perfectly well what speed you were doing.”

Describing the impact on Mr Wilsea’s family, he added: “A world has been ripped apart. They still expect Andrew to walk through the door. All this because you lost control of your car on a bend.

“A motorist described you as driving like an idiot and so did a pedestrian.

“It must have been obvious to them and it must have been obvious to you that you drove far too fast, for far too long, in conditions that could not take it and you killed a vulnerable road user.”

Mr Wilsea died after being knocked down as Hall, who was on a shopping trip with his young daughter to buy toiletries, struck a kerb and careered across the road.

He had been travelling at a speeds of around 70mph along the 50mph section of the road moments before the incident.

Hall’s car then landed in a hedge and Mr Wilsea’s bike was “embedded” into the side of the vehicle.

The court was shown CCTV footage of Hall’s vehicle going out of control into Mr Wilsea’s path as he cycled in the opposite direction.

Camera footage from a bus showed Hall’s car overtaking another vehicle shortly before the collision.

Analysis of the footage showed that Hall was driving in excess of 70mph for about a minute as he travelled towards the scene of the collision.

Hall admitted causing death by careless driving but denied that his driving was dangerous.

He gave evidence during the trial in which he claimed he did not realise he had been driving above the speed limit.

Andrew Semple, prosecuting, said Hall had no previous convictions and a custodial sentence would have an “enormous affect” on his own family.

After the hearing Andrew’s partner Grace said in a statement: “It is a relief that the driver has been found guilty, but it is disappointing that he pleaded not guilty and didn’t take responsibility for his actions, however nothing will ever bring back the father of my children.

“The incident has had a huge impact on mine and the rest of the family’s lives, and ultimately, today’s verdict will not undo what’s happened. Andrew was such a healthy and active man. It is still hard to believe at times he is no longer with us.”