A DRIVER whose lapse in concentration led to the death of a cyclist has been spared jail.

Michael Jones admitted causing the death by careless driving of John Johnson, on the A174 Parkway, near Middlesbrough, in September last year.

Mr Johnson, a 50-yearold father of three, from Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, was hit by Jones’ Ford Focus and died at the scene.

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Mr Johnson’s widow, Angela, was at Teesside Crown Court for yesterday’s hearing.

Christine Egerton, prosecuting, read out a statement from Mrs Johnson, in which she said she wanted Jones to face up to the effect his actions had had on a happy family.

The court was told that Jones was travelling within the national speed limit, at 60 to 70mph, while Mr Johnson was cycling at about 20mph.

Jones, 31, of Kinderton Way, Stockton, who had no previous convictions, was given a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Paul Cleasby, mitigating, said Jones stopped at the scene of the accident and flagged down passing motorists.

Mr Cleasby told the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Peter Fox, that there were no aggravating features.

In a statement, which was partially read out in court, Jones said: “My only hope is that the family of Mr Johnson know how truly sorry I am for what happened on that tragic day.

“We will all pay the price of this tragedy for the rest of our lives.”

Judge Fox, sentencing, told Jones: “Mr Johnson was wearing a bright cycling shirt; he was there to be seen.

“This was a very tragic accident by reason of your error of judgement.”

Jones was banned from driving for three years and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.

He must also pay prosecution costs of £1,400.