A driver who fatally ran over the mother of the Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman has been jailed for 30 weeks.
Liam Rosney, 33, admitted last month causing the death of Carol Boardman by careless driving in July 2016. On Thursday he was sentenced at Mold crown court and disqualified from driving for 18 and a half months.
Carol Boardman, 75, whose son Chris won gold at the 1992 Olympics, sustained multiple injuries when she was hit by Rosney’s Mitsubishi pickup truck after falling from her bike on a mini-roundabout in Connah’s Quay, north Wales, on 16 July 2016.
The court heard that Rosney took three calls on his mobile phone, which was on speaker, before the crash. His truck did not have a hands-free facility.
The judge Rhys Rowlands said: “This was an accident which could have easily been prevented and your contribution to that accident is significant in as much as you were distracted, the distraction being as a result of you using your mobile phone before the actual collision.”
He added: “Any accident which results in someone losing their life is the most appalling tragedy, the more so when the deceased, as here, was well loved and a pretty remarkable woman.”
Speaking before the sentencing, Boardman described the death as “horrifically life-changing” and called for longer bans to deter motorists from breaking the law. He also paid tribute to his mother, herself a talented cyclist, as the person who had inspired his passion for cycling and competition.
“Somebody who takes me swimming in the sea as a kid and races me … on a bike and has grandchildren is just taken away because somebody’s careless, because they used a mobile phone. Our legal system thinks that’s OK, and it’s wrong,” Boardman said.
“I’m pretty certain that the death of my mother, which has been horrifically life-changing among all of our family, won’t be enough to change that.”
Boardman said his mother’s death had blighted a number of lives. “My dad’s lost his partner of 50 years, and watching him has been heartbreaking. He’s dealt with it incredibly.”
Boardman said he did not want to see lengthy jail sentences for people convicted of driving offences. However, he added: “I would like to see more driving bans. Driving is a privilege, so I don’t want those people who commit crime – and that’s what this is – become a burden on society. I’d just like them not to be able to do that to anybody else ever again.”
At the time of his mother’s death, Boardman said: “She leaves behind … a large, loving family. We cannot yet conceive of a world without her in it. We love you Carol. May the wind be ever at your back.”
He described his mother as “a stealth combatant and full of energy”, and added: “Mum was one of those individuals who could quietly turn anything into a contest. Many of our childhood memories involve my mother and the outdoors, walking out over Hoylake sandbank, swimming in the deep gullies or hunting for fossils on Llandegla Moor in north Wales. Wanting to share her passion for cycling, even well into her 70s, she often took groups of young novices out on their first forays into north Wales.”
Boardman said in 2017 he tried to avoid riding on Britain’s roads because he felt they had become too dangerous. “The roads are statistically safe, but it doesn’t look it and it doesn’t feel it,” he told the Guardian in an interview to mark his appointment as the first cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester. “Now I try to do more of my riding off-road, which is sad.”