Mark Baker tried to claim damage to his vehicle occurred in a vehicle yard, but later changed his plea to guilty and was given a suspended six-month sentence

A lorry driver who killed a cyclist in a hit and run incident in Shropshire last year has walked free from court after receiving a suspended sentence.

Mark Baker, 40, pleaded guilty to causing the death of Michael Saunders, 61, by careless driving on the A49 near Dorrington in June 2014.

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Shrewsbury Crown Court sentenced Baker to six months imprisonment but suspended it for 12 months.

According to the BBC, Baker had initially tried to claim the damage to his lorry caused by the collision occurred at a vehicle yard, but he changed his plea due to “overwhelming evidence against him”.

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Spokesman Robin Allen said: “A prudent and careful driver would have seen Michael Saunders, who was using flashing lights [and] wearing high visibility bright yellow clothing.

“More importantly, having seen the cyclist, they would have avoided colliding with him.”

Baker was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and was disqualified from driving for two years.

  • SteveM

    Dazz, not sure how a ‘taco’ can pick up if someone swerved or not…but perhaps that’s my ignorance.

    The guy was wearing a fluorescent top and had flashing LED lights, I do not buy the didn’t see him argument.

    Cyclists are treated like 2nd class citizens by the law, someone is dead and he gets a joke suspended sentence…..someone is dead because of his negligence.
    If this was a workplace accident then he would have received harsher punishment, but as it is he gets off with the equivalent of flashing at someone, and as for pleading not guilty because he thought he did it in the yard…if he routinely crashes into things and does not notice perhaps he should do another job.

  • barraob1

    He tried to get away with killing someone and gets a slap on the wrist, disgusting.

  • Timlewis

    Dazz4040 .. You are an absolute disgrace to defend this scum bag of a human being..

  • Timlewis

    Dazz4040 . You are an absolute disgrace to defend this low life scum bag..

  • Adam Cutler

    …unless you’re not paying due care and attention?

    Seems I’m not missing the point.

  • S D

    The warning light came on the dashboard to alert a fault with the headlight. He did stop repeatedly-the judge said he stopped a mile from the accident but it looks like we will have to agree to disagree.We both know what was said in court but could you please tone down the glowing reference of the accused as I feel his reputation as been tarnished at this point

  • Dazz4040

    I’m sorry but yes your totally missing the point! What sort of person would purposely cause injury or death? It’s a natural reaction if something’s in your path of travel you brake or swerve!

  • Adam Cutler

    Maybe if it had registered some harsh braking or swerving he might not have killed the guy? I’m not sure how statistics from the truck can prove he drives well in this scenario. I could take a five mile drive and my stats could be great. Nice and consistent. I might, however , have run three red lights. Killed two dogs some walkers and an errant cyclist by not ‘braking sharply or swerving’. Am I missing something here?

  • Adam Cutler

    Roger’s already hit the nail on the head. Done blame the driver for his sentence. Blame him for his ACTIONS. Blame the judge for the sentence. And even then there are sentencing guidelines.

    To wish an accident on another human for failing to see your Boolean view of a situation? Well I guess that makes you WORSE than the driver doesn’t it because, as bad as his actions were, they’re likely to be completely accidental…

  • Dazz4040

    I’m sorry but you have it wrong I was also in court the dipped headlights are stated in both specialist analysis of the truck and only once mark had stopped to tighten the straps at the side of the truck and that was several miles from where the accident was reported to have taken place and the judge confirmed he knew the road well and he wouldn’t have said the stop would have been connected to the incident! I also don’t want to keep going back and for but I do want the family and public to know the truth and not have marks and michaels family’s put through any more heartache!

  • S D

    Im not going to repeatedly pick holes in the story, but I will say i was in court that day and the dipping of headlights was speculation.Also he stopped 3 times to check the damage before getting to the yard.I do not deny he is a broken man and it was an unfortunate accident but his more than momentarily lack of concentration has resulted in the death of a blameless loving and caring man.At least he gets to live!

  • Dazz4040

    His taco graph proves he is telling the truth! From the start if his journey his driving was up to standard and consistent, it didn’t register any harsh braking, swerving, irratic speeding, it also rules out falling asleep as he dipped his headlights for on coming traffic, he continued his journey to the yard with the same driving standards! When mark thought he had clipped a Ballard in the yard he checked the truck seen the broken light then phoned his boss! Mark has proved himself as a trustworthy sensible caring man as he has always worked never had a criminal record and is a loving caring husband and father!

  • S D

    Are you sure he told you the truth.?

  • Roger

    Yeah right blah blah indeed. The situation in Germany and Italy in the 1930s more your kind of thing then?

  • Timlewis

    Roger!! Yes I do!!

  • Gordon Morris

    Ummm is right. I’m a Scot living in the USA. Prejudices facing cyclists in America, from a motorist and judiciary perspective, are virtually identical to those faced in the UK.

    Sentencing in the UK differs by country, anyway. How Scotland prosecutes crime differs from England, so to say this matter is UK specific is in fact not correct.

  • Dazz4040

    Mark pleaded not guilty as any innocent person would until a CCTV showed that the light was damaged before he entered the yard so as any decent normal person had to change his plea to guilty without knowledge! Think for 1 second that he is telling the truth how do you convince yourself that you’ve done this without actually experiencing it?

  • ummm…

    We have similar issues re: enforcement and punishment. I’ve also spent a good deal of time riding in London and New York, as I live in New York. They are very similar in many ways. You may be closer to Amsterdam, but your cycling culture is much closer to ours. Is there something more specific that I’m missing?

  • dale

    how convenient..the old i didn’t see him routine, whatever! According to the BBC, Baker had initially tried to claim the damage to his lorry caused by the collision occurred at a vehicle yard, but he changed his plea due to “overwhelming evidence against him”. so, you were saying…

  • dale

    blah blah blah

  • Dazz4040

    Not all the facts have been written about in these reports they don’t state that experts checked the trucks on board computer that proved mark did not see a cyclist plus that mark has held a clean hgv license for 20 years! Mark is a genuine kind and caring man! And anyone who knows mark knows this is an accident which he didn’t knew had happened and he as a kind caring family man has to live with this fact! I hope this never happens to anyone on here as it has a knock on effect through the family including his 3 innocent daughters! My thoughts go to michael saunders family x

  • Dazz4040

    Clearly the reporters have not included all the facts! The on board computer in the truck proved to experts that mark did not see the cyclist plus that mark had a clean license for 20 years of driving hgv so that proves his standard of driving! Mark is an absolute genuine kind caring man! Everyone who actually knows him knows that this is an accident that is unexplainable as the judge stated! My thoughts go out to michaels family plus marks wife and daughters!

  • Crydda

    Tim, while I have some sympathy for your views, behaviour like you seem to be suggesting; some sort of vigilante response, perhaps, makes any perpetrator of such an action just as bad as the coward who fled the ‘accident’ scene in the first place.
    I agree, it seems like justice wasn’t done here, but that’s no excuse to take the law into your own hands – if that happened there would only be anarchy and chaos and no justice at all.

  • TM

    Because this is specifically a UK matter? Sentencing in a court in England is rather irrelevant to the USA, I would think.

  • Roger

    You hope I get knocked off my bike?

  • Timlewis

    Roger.. I don’t like the sentence .. Tell that to this poor mans family… Idiots like you seem to think it’s ok to drive carelessly and not be punished.. I hope you get knocked of your bike and then you might change your pathetic little Mind,,,,

  • v balai


  • It’s heart breaking that a life is worth so little simply because the killer used a vehicle instead of a gun.

  • Nick

    Kerry Dixon – ex footballer got 9 months for a vicious pub assault today. Yet this man killed a cyclist and then deliberately perverted the course of justice by lieing and covering up his actions and his sentence is suspended. Sickening, wrong and an embarrassment to the justice system we have in this country.

  • ummm…

    why do write american? <— lol. Anyhow, I'm in America. How much does that change the discussion?

  • Danny cans

    What an absolute joke typical go into a bank with a toy gun and you get 25 years kill someone in a car and 6 months SUSPENDED! !!!!!!!

  • Roger

    No, not a do-gooder at all (actually I don’t even know what you mean by that), but there was a bloke a long time ago who is reputed to have said: “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone”, and I think he had a good point. What makes you feel so self-righteous? Anyway, if you don’t like the sentence, it’s the judge you should be complaining about.

  • Timlewis

    Roger!! You must be a dogooder who would let this scum driver walk free !!!

  • Timlewis

    No mate what is pathetic is the outcome of this tragic death and a man walks free!!

  • Roger

    That is pathetic.

  • Timlewis

    Does anyone know whereabouts this disgusting example of a human being lives.. I for one would be more than willing to pay him a visit.. Mark baker what goes around comes around!!!

  • Eric Prot

    … appalling …

  • Philip Price

    200hrs community service for a life? Oh, and the killer was told to complete seven sessions of a positive thinking skills activity according to the Shropshire Star.

  • Gary Jogela

    Community service given for causing death by dangerous driving…beyond belief.

  • TM

    “We”? Are you in the UK then? If you are, why do write American?

  • Alain Fisher

    As Chris Boardman recently said, if you want to kill someone do it in a vehicle. There’s a good chance you’ll get off lightly.

  • Tony

    A downright disgaceful sentence yet again

  • ummm…

    pathetic. How have we gotten to a point that the driving of a car implies no responsibility? We have busy roads and cities, but if you’ve injured somebody in a MOTORIZED vehicle then you better well sure have a fact pattern that shows how nearly unavoidable it was. The sprawl factor of our city engineering and the dependence upon cars that this entails needs to be mitigated by the promotion of other modes of transfer i.e. bikes, trains, trams, etc.

  • Texas Roadhouse

    Where is the consistency? How can someone who lied and tried to escape responsibility not get a custodial sentence? Hopefully CPS will appeal this for punishment that fits the crime.

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    That’s not right. Very very wrong.