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Disappointment at 'lenient' sentence for Pendle hit-and-run driver
Family and friends of a Pendle cyclist killed in a hit-and-run have spoken of their ‘strong disappointment’ after the driver who knocked him down walked free from court.
Delivery driver Andrew Edwards, 47, of Hyde, failed to stop after his van veered into the cycle lane in Kelbrook Road, Salterforth, and hit Michael Isherwood, catapulting the 36-year-old around 50 feet.
A hearing at Burnley Crown Court yesterday was told the defendant stopped 200 metres up the road to inspect damage to his vehicle before continuing with his deliveries.
He also saw the aftermath of the accident as he drove back along the road, but again failed to stop.
In court his barrister said he had veered into the cycle lane after momentarily blacking out at the wheel.
At the time he was under stress because his partner Elaine Tierney was recovering from surgery, and he had been on the road for several hours, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and failing to stop after an accident.
Judge Andrew Woolman sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, banned him from driving for a year and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Speaking after the hearing Ken Isherwood, Michael’s father, said: “We are disappointed that he didn’t actually go down for it.
“Being given a suspended sentence, in a way, is like getting away with it, but perhaps it doesn't help that the prisons are so full.
“He did not stop at the scene and even came back down the road when Michael was dying.
“He exploited his partner’s illness. Of course we feel sorry for her, but her illness should not have been part of the case.”
Ivy Isherwood, Michael’s mother, said: “His life will get back to normal, but ours never will.
“He should have done the right thing and admitted it in the beginning.”
Mr Isherwood, who lived with his parents in Meadow Way, Barnoldswick, worked as a boatmaster at Foulridge Canal Cruises.
Martin Cleaver, who was his boss, said: “I do not think it really sets a good example to have somebody who has done a hit-and-run and then later on drove past the accident again being let off.
“But the facts of the case were presented in a way that there was some doubt that he could have fallen asleep and not seen the accident, and the judge took that view.”
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson believes the ‘lenient’ sentence sent out the wrong message.
He said: “I’m very disappointed to hear the sentence that has been handed out.
“Judges need to send out a strong message in cases like this.
"This sort of driving is very bad and needs to be punished full stop, but to leave the scene is particularly bad.
"It’s completely shocking for everyone.
"I feel the sentence here is far too lenient.”