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Workman found guilty of causing the death of a motorcyclist just a day before his 21st birthday

|News, Driving offences

A workman has been found guilty of causing the death of a motorcyclist a day before his 21st birthday by driving into his path on a dual carriageway in Liverpool.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that John Anthony Henry, 41, from Liverpool, drove his blue transit van into Reece Clarke on 23 April 2019, at around 4.40pm.

Photo of the collision site
Photo of the collision site

The incident happened as Mr Henry turned right from Menlove Avenue, in the carriageway heading out of the city centre, onto Cromptons Lane.

The victim had been riding towards the city centre, in the opposite carriageway of Menlove Avenue, which is actually Beech Lane at that point.

Mr Henry edged slowly through standing traffic in the opposite carriageway which was waiting to turn right, to complete his manoeuvre.

He did not see Mr Clarke coming in the lane nearest the pavement and collided with him. Mr Henry later said he thought the lights were on red on that carriageway and that all traffic had come to a standstill.

Mr Clarke suffered severe head injuries in the incident and was taken, unconscious, to hospital  where he died two days later.

Mr Henry was subsequently interviewed by police and was later charged with causing death by careless driving. He denied the charge but a jury at Liverpool Crown Court found him guilty on 17 June 2021. He will be sentenced on 15 July 2021.

The court heard that Mr Henry had been travelling with some of his workmates to price a building job at a property when the incident happened. It was the start of the evening rush hour and traffic was beginning to build up but the weather was fine and visibility was good.

District Crown Prosecutor Victoria Colvin of CPS Mersey-Cheshire said: “On the day of this incident, John Henry committed an error of judgement that had tragic consequences.

“He claimed initially that he saw standing traffic in the lane that the victim was travelling on and that, as a result, he thought the lights were on red.

“But this claim was not substantiated by witnesses or evidence from the scene. The only standing traffic was that waiting to turn into the opposite carriageway.

“It is fair to say that Mr Henry has been devastated by what happened on that day. He lost his livelihood for a time and he has struggled to come to terms with the results of his actions. In court, after the verdict, he bravely expressed an apology to Mr Clarke’s family.

“But it is also true to say that, the fact that he didn’t check to his left as he moved across the carriageway or look back to see if the lights were on red, meant that a young man spent his 21st birthday in hospital, his family at his bedside, and passed away the following day.

“His family now have to try and move forward with their lives without him. We hope that this guilty conviction will help them in some way. The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank them and all the witnesses who have helped us build this prosecution. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr Clarke at this very difficult time.”

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