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Driver jailed over death of Worsthorne motorcyclist
11:00am Saturday 10th August 2013 in News
A DRIVER who killed a motorcyclist after he slammed on his brakes along the M65 has been jailed.
Mark Walsh, 35, from Hapton, was given a 20-month sentence.
He has previously been found guilty of causing the death of Peter Sarchet, a 41-year-old father-of-three from Worsthorne, by dangerous driving.
Judge Robert Altham said the jury had found that Walsh had carried out a gratuitous and capricious manoeuvre.
He said: "Not only did Mr Sarchet lose his life, but the lives of those immediately around him have been transformed forever.
"It is difficult to see how you have shown true remorse. Although I have no doubt you feel extremely sad a man died as a result of an accident in which you were involved, you never accepted any responsibility for that death.
"In every other way you are an entirely decent and respectable family man.
"In my judgment, this offence is so serious that only a sentence of immediate custody is appropriate."
The judge also told him that a 'fine life' had been lost.
Judge Robert Altham considered victim personal statements from members of Mr Sarchet's family including his wife.
A number of references and testimonials were also considered on behalf of the defendant at the Preston Crown Court hearing yesterday.
Mr Alistair MacDonald QC, defending, said the matter had been hanging over his client for a long period of time.
Mr MacDonald said: "He has been deeply affected by the incident. He is extremely saddened by the death of the man. He has genuine feelings about this.
"The victim impact statements make tragic reading. Mr Sarchet was clearly a thoroughly good man and a hard working man as well. This is a tragedy for everybody concerned."
Burnley Crown Court had heard Walsh, from Balliol Close, Hapton, had braked sharply for no good reason, making Mr Sarchet fall off his motorbike and slide under Walsh’s company Vauxhall Insignia.
The defendant was, said the prosecution, driving on the clear, westbound carriageway, at less than 10mph, steering to the left near Walton-le-Dale, on November 1, 2011.
A driver behind managed to pull into the middle lane, but Mr Sarchet, who was travelling behind, came off his machine, collided with the defendant's car and died.
Prosecutor Robert Elias said Walsh had ‘all but stopped’, and he had been ‘an accident waiting to happen’ and ‘inviting catastrophe’.
The court was told when he was interviewed by police on December 21, 2011, he gave a prepared statement, saying he had been travelling at 70mph.
He claimed he had automatically braked and tried to steer his car on to the hard shoulder to avoid a collision after he heard a loud bang at the back of his vehicle.
Walsh had denied causing death by dangeorus driving, but a jury had convicted him following a four-day trial last month.
He had no previous convictions. Walsh was also given a three year driving ban.
After the tragedy, Mr Sarchet, who was travelling to work in Preston, was described as ‘the rock of his family’.
His widow Jill said: “Peter was a devoted family man and lived for his children. He was loving, loyal, very hard-working and the core of our family.
“Everything he did was selfless and our loss cannot be described. He will be missed beyond words."