Careless driver who killed father-of-one cyclist avoids jail

Careless driver who killed father-of-one cyclist avoids jail

A driver who admitted causing the death of a cyclist has been spared a prison term.

Barry McConnell was allowed to serve a community sentence and handed a curfew.

He claimed he was momentarily ‘blinded by the sun’ when he knocked father-of-one Gwyn Bailey off his bike on the A90 near the former Bangour Village Hospital in West Lothian, on February 27 last year.

McConnell, 47, of Bathgate, West Lothian, pleaded guilty on indictment to causing death by careless driving – reduced from the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Bailey, 37, from Wales, had worked in Edinburgh as a manufacturing manager since 2011.

He is survived by his widow Leanne and their daughter, who was only eight at the time of the accident.

Barry McConnell (pictured) was allowed to serve a community sentence and handed a curfew

Barry McConnell (pictured) was allowed to serve a community sentence and handed a curfew

After sentencing, Mrs Bailey, 41, said: ‘A few hours of picking up litter is not justice for killing someone, and house arrest doesn’t make any difference right now when the whole country is in lockdown.

‘He took Gwyn’s life. That driver destroyed our lives.’

Lawyer Richard Freeman, defending, claimed dazzling sunlight in McConnell’s eyes and the fact that the cyclist had been wearing dark clothing may have contributed to the fatal collision.

But Sheriff Susan Craig rejected this defence, saying: ‘It’s clear from the photographs that the clothing was entirely appropriate cycling gear. I’m told your sight was dazzled… but the other statements in this case suggest that the sun wasn’t particularly bright.

McConnell claimed he was momentarily 'blinded by the sun' when he knocked father-of-one Gwyn Bailey (pictured) off his bike on the A90 near the former Bangour Village Hospital in West Lothian, on February 27 last year

McConnell claimed he was momentarily ‘blinded by the sun’ when he knocked father-of-one Gwyn Bailey (pictured) off his bike on the A90 near the former Bangour Village Hospital in West Lothian, on February 27 last year

Pictured: Leanne Bailey

Pictured: Barry McConnell

Mr Bailey is survived by his widow Leanne (left) and their daughter, who was only eight at the time of the accident. Pictured right: McConnell

‘However, the Crown have accepted a plea to causing death by careless driving, not dangerous driving.’

She told him: ‘On balance I’m persuaded that you should serve your sentence in the community.’

Sheriff Craig sentenced McConnell to 225 hours of unpaid work, imposed a night-time curfew for nine months and banned him from driving for 45 months.

She also fined him £1,275 for having no MOT on his Mercedes and for having tinted windows on the car that were darker than the law allows.

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