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Driver who killed motorcyclist after misreading sat nav directions walks free

Brian Moles pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of Paul Matthews, pictured. (Hampshire Constabulary)

A delivery driver who killed a motorcyclist after misreading directions on his sat nav has escaped a jail sentence.

Brian Moles, of Southampton, pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of Harley Davidson rider Paul Matthews.

Moles, 53, was given a 22-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Southampton Crown Court.

The court heard that Moles illegally turned right on to the A326 at Marchwood, despite signs showing such a move was prohibited, and hit 56-year-old Mr Matthews, from Didben.

Moles, who was driving a Mercedes Sprinter delivery van for Harvest Foods, claimed he had not seen the road signs and was following the directions on his sat nav which had instructed him to make the turn.

Prosecutor Richard Martin said: “He said he had been following directions on his TomTom sat nav, which instructed him to take the right-hand turn.”

Moles, 53, was driving a Mercedes Sprinter delivery van for Harvest Foods when the accident happened. (Getty)

A crash investigator re-enacted the journey, Mr Martin said, but the sat nav “did not replicate these directions”.

Sushil Kumar, defending, said that the sat nav had actually instructed Moles to turn right on to another road, Park Lane, 12 metres before the A326.

He said: “When Mr Moles first received directions to turn right down Park Lane, there would have been visual instruction at some 70 yards, and a verbal command. There were no additional or confirmatory instructions thereafter.

“This was a failure to pay proper regard. It was a moment’s inattention.

“The remorse he has expressed has been genuine throughout and has been significant.”

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Mr Matthews’ widow, Andrea Matthews, said in a victim impact statement addressed to the defendant, which was read to the court: “When you chose to ignore those road signs and turned right, you ended my husband’s life and changed my entire existence.”

Sentencing Moles, Judge Peter Henry told him: “In the space of time probably measured in seconds, the manner of your driving caused a collision that killed Mr Matthews and turned Mrs Matthews’ world upside down, as so distressingly reflected in her victim impact statement.”

He added: “Regrettably, while being a useful navigation aid, these devices can so often distract.

“You were distracted by the sat nav, distracted by the proximity of the right-hand turn into Park Lane, and you should have taken more care and you should have realised. But I am prepared to accept this was not deliberate.”

Moles was banned from driving for four years, ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work and pay £1,800 court costs.

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