Motorcyclist jailed over pillion’s death

Rider sentenced to 20 months’ jail after hitting the back of a slowing car

A MOTORCYCLIST has been jailed for causing the death of his pillion passenger after the bike they were riding hit the back of a car.

Shaun Southgate had denied causing the death of mum-of-three Ailson Wilson by careless driving but was found guilty by an 11-to-one majority at Warwick Crown Court last month.

Following an adjournment for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, Southgate, 45, from Wellingborough, was jailed for 20 months and banned from driving for three years.

Southgate and Miss Wilson, in her 30s, were riding his Triumph Trophy on the A435 near Mappleborough Green, Warwickshire, on March 31 last year when it collided with a slowing Renault Clio.

Prosecutor Gary Short said the accident happened after the Clio driver, student Emily Davenport, reduced speed as the road narrowed.

She did so “perfectly properly” by lifting her foot gently off the accelerator, so no brake lights came on.

“He saw her, but did not realise she was slowing down. There was ample time and circumstances for him to see she was slowing, but he didn’t,” said Mr Short.

The bike clipped the offside rear wing of the Clio.

Both Southgate and Miss Wilson were seriously injured and rushed to hospital, where she died in the early hours of the following morning.

It was not suggested Southgate had been speeding at that moment but it was pointed out he had just covered over 60 miles in 52 minutes.

Mr Short pointed out that at the time Southgate was on licence from a three-year sentence imposed at Northampton Crown Court in 2010 for offences including arson after he assaulted his then-partner and set fire to clothes on her canal boat home.

Asking the judge to consider suspending the sentence, Toby Long, defending, said: “What happened on this day, notwithstanding the criminal liability of Mr Southgate, was an accident. It was something which no-one wanted to happen.”

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano pointed out that Southgate had done the journey up to that point at an average of 75mph, and said: “There is no evidence you were speeding at that time, but you made a serious misjudgement.

“The fact is that for the conditions on that road, you were going too fast and hit her car with devastating results...

"I am sure you are very sorry about what has happened, and of course I know you did not go out that evening intending anyone any harm. I know you have struggled with your sense of loss and also with your own very serious injuries.”