A reckless young driver who posted TikTok videos of himself speeding dangerously on Lancashire’s roads was on his way to a driving awareness course when he killed a father-of-one by ploughing into his Land Rover at 70mph.

Remorseless John Lyle was 21 at the time of the tragic and fatal incident which occurred on the 60mph Whins Lane, Simonstone, on April 20, 2022, killing much-loved Nicholas Starkie.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Lyle had a penchant for driving at speed, with a Tik Tok video, seen by the Lancashire Telegraph, showing him overtaking several vehicles in a row on a narrow country road; footage of him overtaking a blue van with the words, “check how close this is wtf”; and undertaking cars, at speed, on the motorway.

Lyle had been on the way to a driver awareness course on the day of the crash, with prosecuting barrister, Amanda Johnson telling the court he had been witnessed by at least four other drivers at just after 1pm, travelling at excessive speeds, swaying as if to correct his steering, and taking bends too quickly through Sabden, towards Padiham.

Ms Johnson said: “Both cars were travelling east towards Padiham. Nicholas Starkie had been in a field and turned onto Whins Lane in order to drive the 50 metres home to the estate he lived on.

“The defendant was travelling behind him at about 70mph, in excess of the speed limit.

“There was no other traffic on that part of the road at the time.

“Some 3.5 seconds before the crash, the defendant had been travelling at 71mph. He began an overtaking manoeuvre, and in the process, Nicholas Starkie attempted to turn right into his estate.

“The defendant braked half a second before the crash but was sadly unable to avoid it and his car went into the rear of Mr Starkie’s Land Rover and it overturned and went into the gate post.”

Ms Johnson said while the Seat was badly damaged, it was the Land Rover that came off worse, with the whole roof completely collapsed, leaving Mr Starkie trapped inside.

Lancashire Telegraph: John LyleJohn Lyle (Image: Lancs Police)

A police investigation found no defects with either vehicle, no road defects, and concluded the major factor in the cause of the crash was the manoeuvre of the Land Rover and the defendant’s decision to overtake it.

Ms Johnson went on: “The defendant’s manner of driving before the crash has been noticed and remarked upon by other road users in the area.”

She told the court one motorist had been forced to brake and steer to the left to avoid Lyle’s vehicle; one had seen him correcting his steering due to the speed of his car, causing it to sway on the carriageway; while another said she saw Lyle’s vehicle “hurtling towards her so fast that it looked like its wheels were coming off the road”, saying to herself, “that car is going to crash”.

Another witness told the police that Lyle’s Seat had overtaken him at about 60mph before speeding off out of sight. The same witness then turned into Whins Lane and came across the crash.

Ms Johnson added: “That witness saw the defendant was out of his vehicle and was kicking his driver’s door, saying, ‘he just came out of nowhere’.”

Another driver who had also witnessed Lyle’s “erratic and intimidating” driving came to assist and provide comfort to Mr Starkie, with Lyle telling him he “hadn’t seen the Land Rover”.

The police and paramedics arrived but Mr Starkie, who was custodian of the nearby Huntroyde Estate, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lyle, of Newton Street, Burnley, was originally arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving but denied his driving was dangerous at the time.

He was also tested for cannabis at the roadside, a test which proved positive. However, he was under the legal limit, so was not charged with drug driving.

Ms Johnson added: “GPS location was analysed from his phone and his speed calculated, showing he had driven in excess of 80mph downhill on Clitheroe Road prior to reaching Sabden, and before reaching the 30mph sign leading into Sabden, his speed was 75mph.”

The Crown Prosecution Service eventually accepted a guilty plea of causing death by careless driving due to the fact Mr Starkie’s Land Rover had not indicated to turn right into the estate, and Mr Starkie should have been able to see Lyle’s Black Seat Leon approaching him from behind.

A heart-wrenching statement read to the court by Irene Starkie, Mr Starkie’s wife, detailed how the 56-year-old had been a pillar of his community, a wonderful, loving husband and a devoted father to their 15-year-old son.

Lancashire Telegraph: John LyleJohn Lyle (Image: Social Media)

Mrs Starkie said the family had been forced to cease taking care of the Huntroyde Estate, which had been in their family for decades, due to being unable to continue without Mr Starkie.

She said his death had destroyed their family and she could “never forgive” Lyle for his actions.

Mrs Starkie told the court: “I couldn’t believe he was driving to an education course due to him going through a red light.

“Then it came to my attention that there were videos of him driving dangerously previously, before the crash with Nick.

“Did he not realise that his actions could cause a crash and destroy a family? That family was ours and I will never forgive him.

“The police have provided support which I will always be grateful for, but what they will never erase is seeing the driver stood at the roadside, smiling like he couldn’t care less.

“He couldn’t show decorum or that he was even sorry for killing Nick.

“I feel let down that he’s only admitted guilt to careless driving and not dangerous driving.

“Nick did not deserve to suffer such a violent end to his life.

“The driver has not only imposed a death sentence on Nick, but three life sentences on others -- my son John, me, and Nick’s mother Ann.”

Sentencing Lyle, Judge Sara Dodd called him immature and said: “On your own admission, you had for a period of time, a pattern of repeated reckless driving at inappropriate speeds and under the influence of various substances.

“Your driving on this day was yet another example of that and you probably thought you were invincible at 21 years of age.

“Do you pose a risk of danger? Yes, I think you do. And the only appropriate punishment is immediate custody.”

Lyle was jailed for 18 months, disqualified from driving for three years and nine months and must sit an extended retest if he ever wants to get behind the wheel of a car again.