A man was killed by a careless driver who performed a dangerous U-turn and forgot to turn his windscreen wipers on.

Preston Crown Court heard that Mark Butterworth, 78, was riding his motorcycle under the speed limit on Saturday, June 25, 2022.

At around 3pm, Antony Whitaker, 78, of Richmond Road, Barnoldswick, parked his Volkswagen Touran in an entrance on the A588 Shard Road near to Shard Bridge in Hambleton.

After birdwatching for approximately 45 minutes, he pulled back out onto the road. It began to rain, and Whitaker failed to turn on his windscreen wipers.

Whitaker then conducted a U-turn across the path of Mr Butterworth, who had no chance to avoid the crash.

Prosecutor Paul Brookwell told the court that medical assistance from members of the public and then the ambulance service was carried out, and Mr Butterworth was taken to Royal Preston Hospital.

He was put on life support where his wife of 33 years said she was 'hopeful' about his condition, as he was conscious and telling her to go home to get some rest.

However Mr Butterworth died a month later after being taken off life support.

Whitaker pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and has no convictions for no previous offences.

The court heard that Mr Whitaker was a much-loved husband and highly respected and celebrated motorcycle racer.

He retired from racing at age 74 having spent most of his life racing competitively across the country, including at the Isle of Man. 

Paying tribute to her husband, his wife Marie said: “Following Mark's death my world has been destroyed. I enter the garage of our home and Mark's race bike is still there.

"Mark's ashes are still in our bedroom and I speak to him every morning and night. But nothing can bring back his infectious sense of humour and kindness which I miss every single day. 

"He had a lifetime passion for motorcycles and started his racing career from an early age, regularly winning races and championships.

"At race meetings he would regularly help other competitors and was also renown for the race engines he built.

"He had a style of racing that was like poetry in motion - effortless and very smooth and was widely respected by all who knew him.

Lancashire Telegraph:

“Mark, I love and miss you so much and I hope you are still racing your bike in heaven.”

In mitigation for Whitaker, Christopher Hudson told the court that Whitaker was remorseful, and that it was a tragic case for the defendant as well as the victim.

He also argued the defendant should be given a suspended sentence due to his early guilty plea and no previous record.

His Honour Judge Robert Altham sentenced Whitaker to nine months in custody, suspended for 20 months. He will have to wear an electronic tag for 26 weeks.

He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months, and must take an extended retest. 

Jude Altham said: "An apology for the delay on this tragic case is needed, as it required a thorough investigation that took some time.

"The defendant accepts his driving was careless. He could have reversed or turned his wipers on so that he could have had a clearer view of the road.

"He is a man of previous good character and has many references to support this, and I am happy to accept he is remorseful."

Sgt Matt Davidson, from the serious collision investigation unit at Lancashire Police, said: “This was a tragic case in which a well-respected and popular motorcyclist lost his life.

"This incident highlights the need for drivers to take extra care in situations where they may encounter vulnerable road users like motorcyclists.

"On this occasions Antony Whitaker did not do this and it cost Mark Butterworth his life.

"Our thoughts remain with all of Mark’s loved ones.”