Northern Ireland

Michael Croome freed over top cyclist David McCall's death

David McCall
Image caption David McCall was fatally injured as he took part in a cycle race in 2008

An English businessman who admitted causing the death of a top Irish cyclist by careless driving has been freed from jail.

Michael Gerard Croome, 29, was released on an 18-month suspended sentence because of time already served.

David McCall, 46, a father of two, was fatally injured on the Belfast Road at Nutts Corner in August 2008.

He was hit by a car driven by Mr Croome who was hurrying on his way to catch a flight.

Mr McCall, a Commonwealth Games medallist, had been taking part in a road-race at the time.

At Antrim Crown Court on Thursday, Judge Corinne Philpott accepted that the accident was caused by a dog which ran into Mr McCall's bicycle.

However, she told Croome - who had given addresses at Cliftonville Road, Belfast and Priory Wharf, Chester - that the accident may have been avoided if he had given himself more room when passing the racing cyclists, who were in clear view.

The judge said: "There is a pattern to your driving... you do not pay sufficient attention to the speed limit."

Croome's jail sentence was suspended for two years and he was banned from driving for three years.

The judge told him she did not know why it had taken him so long to accept his guilt and responsibilities.

Croome was originally jailed for five years for causing Mr McCall's death by dangerous driving.

He served 10 months of that term before his conviction was over-turned and a new trial ordered.

Last December the prosecution accepted his plea to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

Mr McCall worked as a civil servant and also jointly ran Sportactive, which organises cycling and walking holidays.