A LORRY driver whose careless driving resulted in the death of a cyclist and father-of-three has been given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

The judge in the case of Kevin David Young conceded that the family of the victim, Anthony Winter, may consider the punishment to be “wholly inadequate”, but said that he was bound by sentencing guidelines.

Young, 50, was driving a Renault lorry on the A68, near Burtree Gate, Darlington, at about 8am on January 9 this year, when it collided with Mr Winter, who was riding a black mountain bike.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 24-year-old victim, who had three children, Leon, Mason and Olivia, and lived in Darlington, would have been clearly visible to motorists since he was wearing fluorescent clothing and displaying lights.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, said that while the road conditions at the time were poor – it was dark and raining, reducing visibility – Mr Winter was in no way to blame.

He told Young: “You were not driving dangerously, but you were driving carelessly without sufficient regard to the prevailing road conditions.”

The court heard how Mr Winter, who worked for a car valeting firm, would have been in the lorry driver’s sight for just under five seconds, giving him about three and-a-half seconds to react.

Young, of Hoyland Road, Barnsley, who admitted causing death by failing to pay due care and attention, was described as a hard-working man with no previous convictions.

He had been a HGV driver for nine years and had a clean licence.

Judge Bourne-Arton said there were no aggravating features to the case and he also gave Young credit for his guilty plea.

The judge said were he to immediately jail Young the reality was that he would be released within only a few weeks.

He said: “This is a tragic case. By your actions you have killed a young man in the prime of his life...and deprived his young children of a father.

“They have not yet come to terms with the loss of their father and it may take them some time.”

Young was also ordered to do 160 hours unpaid work and will be banned from driving for three and-a-half years.

Tributes paid to Mr Winter - known as ‘Anth’ – on social networking site Facebook following his death described him as a “happy lad” and someone who “always knew how to put a smile on people’s faces”.

His sister, who at the time released a statement through Durham Police, also said he would help anyone and was the best brother anyone could have.