Van driver who killed motorcyclist was on phone call at time of crash

A tribute left at the scene of the crash where 44-year-old biker Jamie Carter died

A tribute left at the scene of the crash where 44-year-old biker Jamie Carter died - Credit: Archant

A van driver who caused a crash that killed an experienced motorcyclist was likely to have been distracted by a phone call when he pulled out of a junction into his path.

Philip Jenkins, 36, was driving on Fir Covert Road in Taverham when he pulled out onto Reepham Road - and directly into the path of 44-year-old Jamie Carter's Yamaha motorcycle.

A motorcyclist died in the crash at Felthorpe, at the junction of Reepham Road and Fir Covert Road.

The scene of the fatal crash at Felthorpe, at the junction of Reepham Road and Fir Covert Road. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Crown Court heard on Friday how Mr Carter, from Palgrave, made every effort to avoid the crash, which happened on June 26, 2019, but died from the "catastrophic" injuries suffered in the impact.

The judge was told how Jenkins had not spotted the motorcyclist when making a right turn out of the staggered junction - likely due to being engaged in a telephone conversation with his wife at the time.

The last thing Jenkins said to his wife in the call was that he had had a crash.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, told the court while it was not clear whether he was using a hands-free kit at the time, the phone conversation still would have served as a distraction.

He added that Jenkins' wing mirror had previously been damaged and was fixed back on using cardboard and tape, which may have obscured his vision further.

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Jenkins, of Windleaves Road, Birmingham, had previously denied causing death by careless driving, but later admitted it at a plea and trial preparation hearing on April 20.

Andrew Nuttall, for Jenkins, told the court how the remorse had led his client to developing post-traumatic stress disorder, for which he was awaiting psychological treatment.

He said: "His remorse is quite clear and unequivocal. He takes full responsibility and that takes character."

Mr Nuttall added that Jenkins was a father-of-four, with a four-year-old daughter who was born prematurely and therefore has complex needs.

He argued that a jail sentence would have a "significant and harmful impact" on the youngster and his wife, who would be required to take full responsibility for her care.

Judge Maureen Bacon agreed, handing Jenkins an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also disqualified from driving for 15 months.

She said: "It would appear Jamie Carter was there to be seen, but by your own admission you did not see him. In all likelihood, you did not see him because you were distracted by a telephone conversation you were engaged in."

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