Berkshire

Sainsbury's lorry driver jailed for killing cyclist

Stephen Gibbons with his family Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Stephen Gibbons (left) was cycling to work when he was hit by Cassar's lorry

A Sainsbury's lorry driver who fatally hit a cyclist and drove off has been jailed.

Vincent Cassar thought he had hit a deer when he left the crash scene near Bracknell in Berkshire in August 2018, Reading Crown Court heard.

Stephen Gibbons, 61, who had been cycling to work from Deepcut in Surrey, died from his injuries.

Cassar, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of causing death by careless driving and was jailed for 16 months.

Mr Gibbons' family criticised Sainsbury's for their lack of communication with them.

Cassar was driving a Scania lorry to a Sainsbury's store in Bracknell when he hit Mr Gibbons on Bracknell Road at 04:40 BST on 4 August 2018.

The driver, who had worked for the supermarket chain for 19 years, was travelling at 51mph and within the 60mph speed limit, when he struck the rear wheel of Mr Gibbons' bicycle, throwing him into a verge.

Cassar said he heard the impact but claimed he did not see the cyclist when he stopped to inspect the road before continuing his journey.

Mr Gibbons, who had been wearing a hi-vis jacket, was discovered after another lorry driver noticed the damaged bike and called emergency services.

Cassar later noticed the damage to his HGV and flagged down police when he later drove past the crash scene.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The cyclist was pronounced dead on the A322 near the Swinley Bottom roundabout

The court heard after his arrest, Cassar told police: "I swear to God I thought I hit a deer."

Prosecutor Charles Royle said: "We can't identify a legitimate reason why Mr Cassar did not see the bike."

In victim impact statements, Mr Gibbons' family described him as "the best dad you could ask for".

His son Kyle said "not a peep" had been heard from Sainsbury's until earlier this month and called for "meaningful recompense".

"I have strong feelings about the Sainsbury's role and culpability in the killing of my dad," he said.

Judge Angela Morris said the case was a "continuing tragedy for all his family, friends and work colleagues".

She told Cassar: "You would have, and should have, seen Mr Gibbons cycling... if you had been giving the road the proper attention it deserved."

Sainsbury's said it was in contact with Mr Gibbons' family.

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