A VAN driver who caused a horrific crash when he tried to do a u-turn on a busy dual-carriageway while pulling a horsebox has walked free from court.

Malcolm Hutchinson was banned from the roads and given a suspended prison sentence for what a judge called "a highly-dangerous manoeuvre".

Motorcyclist Eric Holdsworth braked and tried to avoid a collision, but slid for 60ft before hitting it and suffering multiple injuries last September.

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He was air-lifted from the A168 at Topcliffe, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, to the intensive care unit at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Teesside Crown Court heard how he suffered a fractured skull, eye damage, and broken bones in his back, leg and pelvis, and will have lifelong pain.

Hutchinson's lawyer, Graham Silvester, told the court that the 39-year-old was deeply sorry and said: "He wishes very much he could turn back time."

He described the accident as "a split-second error of judgement" and addd: "He didn't see the motorcyclist and continued with the manoeuvre."

Hutchinson admitted dangerous driving and was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 240 hours of unpaid work.

The judge, Recorder Margia Mostafa, also ordered him to pay £1,000 compensation and £500 costs and banned him from driving for 21 months.

She told the married labourer, of Poplar Road, Doncaster: "This was a single very serious error of judgement during which you failed to have proper regard to vulnerable road-users."

The court heard how other drivers came to the aid of the stricken biker - motionless and bleeding - as Hutchinson froze in shock at the roadside.

One said in a statement: "I cannot believe any sane person would think it was safe or sensible to move across traffic on a busy dual-carriageway. It was ridiculously dangerous."