James Bryan trial: Porsche driver 'distracted by social media' when he killed cyclist on Yorkshire road while on a shopping run
James Michael Bryan, 37, struck Andrew Jackson, 36, with his Porsche Carrera on the A168 between Rabbit Hill Park and Allerton Park, near Boroughbridge, in May 2020. Mr Jackson, a father of two who lived near Wetherby, died at the scene.
Aspiring property developer Mr Bryan, of St Mary’s Avenue, Harrogate, denies causing death by dangerous driving and has now gone on trial at York Crown Court. He has admitted to causing Mr Jackson’s death by driving without due care and attention.
The court was told that Mr Bryan had spent the previous night drinking at a friend’s house before he set off from Cheshire the morning of the collision to drive to Harrogate to drop shopping off for his parents, who were shielding during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Cocaine traces were also found in his system, though he was not over the limit for either drugs or alcohol. Mr Bryan initially claimed that the cocaine had come from kissing his girlfriend, but later admitted to taking it intentionally.
He accepts that he pulled into a lay-by shortly before the collision to use his mobile phone, but claims not to have been distracted by it when he hit Mr Jackson on a straight stretch of road where visibility was at least 500 metres in broad daylight.
His speed was given at 48mph at the time.
Mr Jackson’s family, including his wife Jenny and parents Paul and Ruth were in court, as were Mr Bryan’s parents.
The regular cyclist, who was exercising alone during lockdown, was wearing a helmet and his bike had recently been serviced. The court heard he died from head trauma after being thrown onto the Porsche’s windscreen. He left a son and daughter aged just three and one at the time.
The prosecution will rely on mobile phone records to prove that Mr Bryan was distracted, including data showing that his handset was unlocked from 13.39-47pm, and that he dialled 999 at 13.43pm. Instagram and Facebook apps were open.
Mr Bryan told police in interviews that Mr Jackson had swung out into the car’s path, though a police reconstruction found that the bike was not positioned in the middle of the road when the collision occurred. Messages were retrieved from his mobile phone which referred to Mr Bryan being hungover.
The jury will also be shown CCTV footage of an incident in 2018 when Mr Bryan was filmed appearing distracted at the wheel and sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution.
His defence counsel will argue that Mr Bryan was not ‘impaired’ through alcohol and drug use and that he was in a ‘fit and proper’ state to drive. They will present a case for Mr Jackson moving ‘without warning’ further into the road.
He accepted careless driving on the basis that he did not give Mr Jackson enough room when passing him.
Mr Jackson, who grew up in Richmond, was declared dead by a passing doctor, Leeds General Infirmary intensive care consultant Dr John Adams, who noted that his helmet had smashed and he had suffered significant blood loss.
The trial continues.