Family's dismay at sentence given to speeding driver who caused death of cyclist
The family of a cyclist who was killed by a speeding driver have voiced their dismay at the sentence given by a judge.
Posted on 07 September 2020
David McSkimming was given a suspended six-month prison sentence and 250 hours community service at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, 4 September, 2020, after he admitted causing death by careless driving.
McSkimming caused the death of 51-year-old Anthony Satterthwaite on 22 December, 2018, when he drove at 59mph on a bend on the 40mph Eastcote Lane in Solihull.
He collided with Mr Satterthwaite, who was cycling in the opposite direction. Mr Satterthwaite was trapped beneath McSkimming’s Porsche Boxster and died at the scene.
Mr Satterthwaite’s wife and parents say the sentence given to McSkimming, of Gainsborough Crescent, Knowle, is “totally inadequate”.
Wendy Satterthwaite said:
“The family had very justifiable expectations of a fair and honest sentencing decision in respect of a much loved and irreplaceable member of our family who was killed on 22 December, 2018. This did not happen. The judge handed out a totally inadequate sentence - six months, suspended for two years and 250 hours community service to a driver who killed a totally innocent cyclist in a most violent and cruel way.
“Anthony suffered horrendous injuries. All of this was deemed less important than the psychological effects on the Defendant’s son and his career. This decision has left the family totally traumatised and is one we cannot come to terms with.
“You have to question who the real victims are here. It made us feel that the sympathy was heavily weighted in favour of the Defendant and the effects on his career and his family.
“The sentence in our case was far too lenient and has left us feeling it was an insult to Anthony and all he had achieved in life and has totally destroyed our faith in the justice system. What kind of message does this paltry sentence send to others about death on the road? A flawed justice system has allowed McSkimming to walk free.”
“We feel that the justice system has failed Anthony and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.
“The sentence that was passed was wholly and morally wrong and the sad fact is, Anthony’s passing will be just another statistic of death on the road.
“The guidelines seem so inflexible for the victims. We had to read edited versions of our original Victim Personal Impact Statements with little justification.”
Wendy is represented by Leigh Day solicitors, who specialise in serious injuries caused to cyclists by motorists.
Leigh Day Partner Grant Incles, who heads the serious cycling injuries team, said:
“Our hearts truly go out to the family of Anthony Satterthwaite who lost his life whilst cycling.
“The family are understandably angered that our criminal justice system allows for such patently unjust sentencing where road traffic offences occur, particularly in cases like this where it is apparent to most people that the offence was so much more than any momentary lapse in concentration.
“Sadly, we see this all too often and it is not hard to understand why families often feel that the justice system only compounds the devastation of losing a loved one, instead of offering some sort of comfort by handing down a punishment that at least attempts to reflect the seriousness of the offence. A serious re-consideration as to how such cases are prosecuted by the courts is long overdue.”