10:37am Saturday 22nd June 2013
A driver who killed one of England’s top veteran cyclists when he ploughed into him during a road race in North Yorkshire has been spared jail after a court heard his brief lapse of concentration “could have happened to anybody”.
Leonard Grayson, 75, died instantly when he was hit during a 100-mile time trial along the A19 near Thirsk.
Peter Barraclough admitted causing his death by careless driving after he took his eyes off the road for a matter of seconds when a lorry on the opposite carriageway caught his attention.
Barraclough, 30, of East Cowton, near Northallerton, initially thought he had hit a bird before he stopped, looked in his mirror and realised he had careered into Mr Grayson, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Peter Makepeace, prosecuting, described the incident last August as “an extremely tragic road traffic accident”.
He said Mr Grayson, who lived in Garforth, West Yorkshire, with Kathleen, his wife of 49 years, was “by all accounts, a remarkable man who belied his years”.
Mr Grayson, who also left a daughter, gave up cycling in the 1960s to spend time with his family but returned to the sport in the 1980s and rekindled his success, the court heard. When he died he had completed 83 miles of the “gruelling” 100-mile route at an average speed of more than 20mph.
Barraclough had been working in nearby Topcliffe and was driving his Alfa Romeo along the A19 within the speed limit shortly before the accident.
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