Man jailed for causing death of pensioner by dangerous driving - Potters Bar

30/11/2016

A man appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, Wednesday, 30 November 2016, and was jailed for four years for causing the death, by dangerous driving, of a man in Potters Bar April 2014.

At around 4.45pm on 14 April 2014, Francis Abbott, aged 71, was on his way home from the shops and was crossing Mutton Lane, Potters Bar, when he was struck by the Suzuki motorcycle being ridden by Luke Stella, who had only passed his motorcycle licence 3-months earlier.  Mr Abbott was taken to hospital where he sadly died.

Moments before the collision Stella, aged 26, from Park Street Lane, Park Street, St Albans, had been seen by other motorists pulling a 'wheelie,' weaving in and out of the traffic and accelerating fast away from the traffic lights.

Stella claimed in interview he had no recollection of the events prior to the collision and doing wheelies was not 'his style of riding.'

However, in March 2015, an officer looked at an Instagram account in Stella's name and found videos and photos on the account including one showing him carrying out a 'wheelie' in February 2014, on the same motorcycle involved in the fatal collision.

In addition to the custodial sentence, Stella was disqualified from driving for three and a half years, was ordered to take an extended driving test before being allowed back on the roads again and his licence was endorsed.

Phillip Mansfield, District Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved Luke Stella riding his motorcycle in manner far below that expected of an ordinary driver, which caused the untimely death of 71-year-old Francis Abbott in Potters Bar in April 2014.

"The level of Stella's riding demonstrated a complete disregard for other road users and led directly to him colliding with Mr Abbott causing him fatal injuries.  Stella claimed he had no recollection of the incident and denied causing the death of Mr Abbott by dangerous driving, but on 31 October 2016, at St Albans Crown Court he was found guilty, after a week-long trial, despite his denials.

"This case highlights the serious consequences of driving in such a reckless, inconsiderate and dangerous manner. Holding a driving licence brings with it a high degree of responsibility that should always be at the forefront of every driver's mind.

"I hope that the conviction and today's sentence will in some way help Mr Abbott's family and friends come to terms with this tragic event.  My thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Sergeant Richard Cruse said: "Francis Abbott was going about his daily business when Luke Stella collided with him. Sadly, he stood no chance of avoiding him.

"A number of witnesses saw his dangerous and excessive driving prior to the collision and clearly he had no regard for the safety of anyone else around him."