Kent

Van driver cleared of killing teenage cyclist in Kent

Van driver Philip Sinden
Image caption Mr Sinden denied he was distracted from driving by using his mobile phone to send texts

A van driver has been cleared of causing the death of a teenage cyclist in Kent.

Philip Sinden's Vauxhall Vivaro struck 18-year-old Daniel Squire on the A258 at Ringwould in September 2013.

Mr Sinden was cleared at Canterbury Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving.

The prosecution claimed he was distracted from driving by using his mobile phone before the crash.

Mr Sinden denied he was distracted but admitted he had been attempting to text as he turned onto the A258.

He insisted the battery on his phone had run out before the crash happened.

Loud gasps

The BBC's Piers Hopkirk described an angry reaction from the family when the verdicts were read out.

He said there were loud gasps from the public gallery. Daniel Squires' mother was visibly distressed and had to be comforted by other family members, while another person shouted to the jury 'have you not been listening?'

Addressing the family, Judge Heather Norton said: "I appreciate this is not the verdict that you hoped for or expected but that is the verdict."

She added: "Can I express my profound sympathy for the death of Daniel."

Image copyright Daniel Squire's family
Image caption Members of Daniel Squire's family were in court to hear the verdicts

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