A MOTORIST has been cleared of charges arising from a collision with a motorcycle, which resulted in the death of the rider.

Wayne Richard Gascoigne was at the wheel of his BMW 330, travelling south on the A68, between Castleside and Tow Law, when he pulled out to overtake two slower moving cars in front.

Durham Crown Court heard that he maintained he was driving at about the limit for the road, 60-miles per hour, and the two vehicles ahead of him were only doing 35 to 40-mph.

He thought the road ahead was clear and checked his rear-view mirror, before indicating to pull out to attempt the double overtaking manoeuvre.

Mr Gascoigne said it was only as he was overtaking he suddenly saw the motorcycle travelling in his direction, in front, but it was too late to avoid a collision.

Motorcyclist Shaun Dave Neal was thrown from his Honda CBR machine and came to rest face down in a grass verge.

The court was told that it he would have died instantaneously, on impact, but it was 40 minutes after the collision, which took place at 1.40pm on Saturday September 2 last year, that members of road and air ambulance crews agreed to end their resuscitation attempts, at the scene.

Mr Neal, 46, a father-of-two, was an ex-soldier, who, since leaving the Army, in 2012, worked for the National Careers Advice Service in prison establishments.

He was described by his wife, Julia, as a keen motorcyclist, who was very safety conscious and took pride in his bike’s road-worthiness.

On the fateful day he left the family’s Jarrow home in South Tyneside, to go for a ride with a biker friend to Cumbria.

He rang his wife 40-minutes prior to the collision from Hartside Café, near Penrith, to tell her he was about to make the return journey home.

Mr Gascoigne, 23, of Front Street, Wolsingham, denied causing death by dangerous driving.

On the third day of the trial, the jury returned not guilty verdicts to both that charge and the alternative of causing death by careless driving.

Following the verdicts, he was discharged from court by Judge Christopher Prince.