Sleaford driver who ran into three cyclists when he fell asleep at the wheel has jail sentence cut

Jailed - Michael Bradbury of Sleaford. EMN-180709-121233001
Jailed - Michael Bradbury of Sleaford. EMN-180709-121233001

An uninsured motorist from Sleaford who seriously injured three cyclists when he fell asleep at the wheel has had his jail sentence cut by nine months.

Michael Bradbury, 30, of Balmoral Drive, Sleaford, was jailed for 45 months earlier this year after a court heard how he drove off without helping the riders despite knowing “he had hit something.”

Wheelchair-bound William Tweddell in hospital.

Wheelchair-bound William Tweddell in hospital.

Among his victims was Colchester dentist Bill Tweddell, 58, who was immediately knocked unconscious and suffered multiple injuries in the collision which left him paralysed and wheelchair bound.

Two other riders, veterinary surgeon Adrian Boswood, 52, from Hertfordshire, and Christopher Pratt, 31, from Bourne, were also seriously injured when Bradbury drove straight into the back of their group as they took part in a 600km overnight cycling event.

Tragically the three riders had only been diverted by police onto the A15 between Lincoln and Sleaford after there was another fatal accident on their originally scheduled B road at Branston.

At Bradbury’s sentencing in September prosecution barrister Katherine Goddard described how Mr Tweddell was left fighting for his life.

But a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court was today (Monday) told the prison guidelines used to sentence Bradbury were too high.

Judge Andrew Easteal therefore reduced Bradbury’s jail sentence from 45 months to 36 months.

All three victims had been correctly riding in single file and displaying powerful lights and reflective clothing when the collision occurred shortly after 2am on 10 September last year.

Bradbury, who had already stopped at a fast food outlet because he felt tired, admitted in interview he was aware of his eyes becoming heavy but he chose to continue because he was not far from home.

Mr Tweddell and Mr Boswood were both riding recumbent bikes with Mr Pratt at the front on a traditional road bike, the court had heard.

Miss Goddard said: “Mr Bradbury drove straight in to the back of the group, he first hit Mr Tweddell, then Mr Boswood and finally Mr Pratt, who was also hit by Mr Boswood.

“All three riders were left either lying in the road or on the verge. Mr Pratt got up, Mr Boswood tried to stand up but couldn’t do so and Mr Tweddell was immediately knocked unconscious.”

Police arrested Bradbury at his Sleaford home just three hours later after examining ANPR cameras and finding distinctive mesh from his VW Scirocco at the scene.

He responded by asking officers, “What did I hit” and later claimed he had told his girlfriend that he would go to the police after he had slept.

Checks showed Bradbury’s car insurance had been cancelled after he failed to provide details of his no claims bonus. The judge accepted Bradbury might not have known this.

Miss Goddard added: “The fact there was more than one person seriously injured as a result of the failures in his driving is an aggravating feature.

“The fact he was driving without insurance when the offence was committed is an aggravating feature, as is the fact that he drove away.”

All three riders were taking part in the event, known as the Flatlands 600k, which involved around 70 cyclists who were travelling from Essex to Goole and then back again in 40 hours.

Mr Tweddell, who was a father-of-three and an experienced cyclist who had previously cycled from London to Edinburgh, was admitted to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where he did not wake for a month after suffering a traumatic injury to his spine, multiple fractures and a bleed near his brain.

In a moving victim impact statement which was read out in court at the time of the trial, his wife, Sue, described how her husband’s first words to her on waking up were, “I love you “

Mr Boswood also spent ten days in hospital after suffering multiple fractures and internal bleeding. In a statement he said: “I still find myself drifting back to this several times a day.”

Mr Pratt, who suffered several fractured ribs, said he was happy that Bradbury had pleaded guilty and shown remorse, but added he had been much more fortunate than the other two riders.

Bradbury had admitted three charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving on 10 September, 2017.