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Lorry driver cleared over death of student Olin Poulson

image captionOlin Poulson was a keen motor cyclist and BMX biker

A lorry driver whose vehicle hit a 20-year-old cyclist has been cleared of causing death by careless driving.

Cardiff University student Olin Poulson, from Pencader, from Carmarthenshire, died as he cycled with his mother on the A40 near Carmarthen.

Christopher Shapland, aged 28, admitted exceeding the speed limit but denied it had contributed to the accident.

Judge Keith Thomas, at Swansea Crown Court, said he wished to express the court's sympathy to the Poulson family.

The court heard how Mr Poulson and his mother, Mary, had arranged to pull into the High Noon service station at White Mill, where they were due to meet his brother.

Mr Poulson prepared to turn right across the carriageway, but was struck by Mr Shapland's articulated lorry.

Hands-free mobile

The jury heard expert evidence that the vehicle's tachograph showed Mr Shapland had been travelling at 55mph (89km/h) in a 40mph (64km/h) zone, and that braking had reduced the speed to 52mph (84km/h) at the point of impact.

Mr Shapland, from Brecon, also admitted that he had been using his hands-free mobile but said he had stopped talking to concentrate on overtaking.

The court heard how Mr Poulson, a Cardiff University student, suddenly pulled out and hit the side of his lorry.

He wept as he told the jury about the accident on 3 September, 2010.

He said Mr Poulson put out his right hand as if to indicate a right turn but did not look behind him.

In an attempt to avoid the cyclist he mounted the kerb on the other side of the road, he said.

After bringing the lorry to a halt he could hear Mrs Poulson screaming and he saw Mr Poulson's body underneath the trailer of his lorry.

He said he was shocked and upset but did not believe the manner of his driving had contributed to the accident.

Judge Keith Thomas said no-one could have failed to be impressed by the closeness of the Poulson family.

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