Suspended sentence for driver who killed Karl Austin

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Michael Bray, the long distance lorry driver who killed cyclist Karl Austin during a time trial last June, was yesterday given a 24 week sentence, suspended for two years, at Derby Crown Court.

The court had heard Bray admit to causing death by careless driving, claiming he didn't see Austin who was taking part in a club time trial on the A50 near Hatton in Derbyshire.

Austin, who was wearing reflective clothing and had fitted a rear light to his bike, died at the scene. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Bray, 62, was also disqualified from driving for two years and has been put under an 18-month supervision order and a four month tagged curfew.

Judge Michael Fowler of Derby Crown Court told Bray, "passing a draconian sentence on you doesn't in any way honour the death of Karl Austin."

Last month magistrates at South Derby Magistrates Court, where the case had initially been heard, had ruled that it was beyond their remit to pass appropriate sentence.

Keith Austin, father of Karl, told CW he believed the sentence was lenient but not unexpected.

"We were very pleased to have eventually got the case to Crown Court for sentencing but feel now that the sentence is little more, if at all, than would have been passed in a magistrates court," he said. 

"Our hope that a stiff sentence would send out a signal to other road users that more care was needed where cyclists are concerned has been dashed.

"I can't say we're disappointed, certainly in the last few weeks we'd begun to realise he [Bray] would get a suspended sentence."

It emerged in court that Bray had been driving at 56mph on the 50mph A50 at the time of the incident and according to Police reports had around 1,200 metres, or 45 seconds, to see Austin.

"There's nowhere to go from here," Keith Austin added, "we're glad it's over because it's gone on much longer than we ever expected."

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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.