A woman who held a teenage motorcyclist’s hand as he died after she hit him has been spared jail.
Shirley Haynes, 55, was at the wheel of her Toyota Hi-Lux on the A417 Gloucester to Ledbury road when she hit 19-year-old Joseph Whitestone in March last year.
Gloucester Crown Court heard on Tuesday she sat holding his hand and trying to comfort him while paramedics tried to save his life at the scene of the collision in Corse.
Joseph died a day later in hospital, Gloucestershire Live reports.
Judge Ian Lawrie QC ruled a prison sentence was not necessary and sentenced Haynes to a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work.
He banned Haynes, of Drinkers End Road, Corse Lawn, Gloucestershire, from driving for one year.
He also ordered her to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Prosecutor Jennifer Tallentine told the court that Haynes was on her way home from London on March 28 last year and drove into the Crosshands petrol station on the A417 for groceries at 8.30pm.
“She exited the forecourt onto Lawn Road before turning right onto the A417 and followed another car, driven by a doctor, out of the junction when the collision happened,” said Ms Tallentire.
“The doctor said in her statement that in her rear view mirror she saw the vehicle behind colliding with a motorbike.
“The motorcyclist was thrown from his bike.
“Mrs Haynes’ daughter shouted a warning at her mother moments before the impact, but it was too late.
“It is understood that the motorcycle had been adapted by Joseph earlier that day and it is believed he was travelling in excess of the 50mph speed limit.”
In a statement read out in court, Joseph’s grandfather Peter Whitestone said: “He came to live with us at the age of 11. He effectively became our son. I took great pleasure in passing on my engineering skills to him.
“His death has left us a great void and our lives cannot ever be the same again. Our family has an empathy with the driver over this.”
Joseph’s mother Rachel said that her son was a kind and caring person.
Her statement added: “Whilst Joe was not a saint, he was a good person. About 10 years ago I suffered a nervous breakdown and he became my main carer.
“He built a conservatory and some sheds for me so I could continue with my craft work to help me get better.
“Since losing Joe I have suffered panic attacks.
“It would have been Joe’s birthday on July 29 and we normally go to a steam rally, but I felt I couldn’t go on this occasion.
“Joe lived life to the full.”
Timothy Pole, defending, said: “This offence can only be classified as a tragedy for all concerned. It has been felt most keenly by Joe’s family and Mrs Haynes as she has to live life with the emotions of that fateful day.
“The instinct of a mother meant that she assisted at the scene of the accident and comforted Joe.
“She is a woman who volunteers for the Riding for the Disabled group and is part of her local community.
“The collision can properly be described as human error. The doctor left the junction moments before Haynes and as she accelerated she observed that the motorbike had a dimly lit headlight and was travelling at speed.
Haynes pleaded guilty to causing the death of Joseph Whitestone by careless driving of a Toyota Hi-Lux pick up on March 28, 2018
In passing sentence Judge Ian Lawrie said to Haynes: “Your true punishment is your profound sense of guilt.
“You even held Joseph’s hand at the accident.
“His death has had a marked effect on Joe’s family and you know that it cannot diminish the sense of guilt.
“You’ve admitted the crime and this process means I have to punish you.
“The reality is that you failed to see the motorcyclist. However I do recognise that you are genuinely a careful driver having driven for 37 years without any points on your licence.
“I am going to impose a community order, but I appreciate that this will not seem much to the victim’s family.”
Judge Lawrie spoke to Joe’s family in private after the hearing.