Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Paul Matthews death: Driver 'misread sat nav' before crash

Paul Matthews Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Paul Matthews was riding his Harley Davidson when he was hit by Moles' delivery van

A delivery driver who took an illegal turn and killed a motorcyclist after misreading his sat nav has been given a suspended sentence.

Brian Moles steered his van into Paul Matthews' Harley Davidson as he turned on to the A326 at Marchwood, near Southampton, in September last year.

He made the turn despite road signs showing the move was prohibited, Southampton Crown Court heard.

Moles, 53, was sentenced to 22 months in prison, suspended for two years.

The defendant, from Southampton, had pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Richard Martin said Moles was driving for Harvest Foods when he turned right onto the busy road and hit 56-year-old Mr Matthews, from Didben, on 8 September.

Moles had 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, Mr Martin said.

However, a crash investigator re-enacted the journey and the sat nav did not replicate these directions, the court was told.

'Fatal error'

Sushil Kumar, defending, said the sat nav had actually instructed Moles to turn right on to another road 12m (29ft) before the A326.

"This was a failure to pay proper regard. It was a moment's inattention," Mr Kumar said.

Judge Peter Henry told Moles he had made a "fatal error" but did not believe it was deliberate.

"Regrettably, while being a useful navigation aid, these devices can so often distract," he said.

"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."

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

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