A MOTORIST responsible for the death of a motorcyclist was told today (Wednesday February 19) it is “highly likely” he will be jailed.
The warning was given by Judge Paul Watson to Anthony Shelton, after he changed his plea and admitted a charge of causing death by dangerous driving at Durham Crown Court.
It follows a fatal collision involving Shelton’s Mitsubishi L200 on a country road, near Tow Law, County Durham, in April last year.
Keen motorcyclist Neil Douglas Hamilton was thrown from his BMW 600cc machine on impact.
The 60-year-old supply teacher, of Offerton Close, South Hylton, Sunderland, was confirmed dead at the scene, at Low West House.
A former chief technician at Newcastle University’s Medical School, he retrained as a teacher and worked on supply at schools across the North-East.
Mr Hamilton was also a leading figure in Cleveland Roadar, the advanced drivers and riders section of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa).
He was travelling westwards on the B6301 Hedleyhill Lane, when the collision took place with the 4x4 vehicle, shortly before 1pm on Wednesday April 3.
Both Shelton and a 44-year-old female passenger suffered minor injuries for which they were treated at the scene.
He was arrested and subsequently charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
Appearing at the court on December 10, he pleaded ‘not guilty’, although his barrister, Stephen Duffield, said he would be prepared to admit the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.
But, on what was to have been the start of the trial at the court today (Wednesday February 19), Mr Duffield asked if the charge could be put to his client again.
Shelton pleaded ‘guilty’ and Mr Duffield asked for an adjournment to allow preparation of a background report by the Probation Service prior to sentence.
Agreeing, Judge Watson told Shelton: “The fact I’m adjourning for a report and granting you bail should not be taken as an indication as to the final sentence.
“You have pleaded ‘guilty’ to a serious charge and custody is a highly likely outcome.”
He bailed 51-year-old Shelton, of Castle View, Esh Winning, to return for sentence on March 14.