Driver killed motorway biker by slowing to just 10mph

The case of motorist Mark Walsh who received 20 months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving seems unreasonably lenient says The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG).

Mark Walsh, 43, slammed on his brakes near a slip-road, causing 41-year-old Peter Sarchet behind him to lose control of his Yamaha bike after the front wheel locked when he had to brake hard. Father-of-three Mr Sarchet, a retail manager, ended up beneath engineer Walsh’s car on the M65 suffering multiple injuries.

Prosecutor Robert Elias told Preston Crown Court: “The defendant all but stopped and was inviting catastrophe. No competent driver would consciously drive at less than 10mph on the motorway. Alistair MacDonald QC, defending, said: “It’s just inconceivable he did it as an act of devilment.” Current news reports give no indication of what Walsh’s reasons for braking so hard in such circumstances might have been.

MAG President Ian Mutch said; “It is always risky to make judgements without all the facts available to the court but from what is known this looks like a case of extraordinary leniency on the part of the judge. Motorcyclists have been imprisoned for almost as long for speeding on empty roads where no accident occurred. There seems to be a conspicuous lack of consistency in sentencing policy which suggests an institutionalised prejudice against the motorcyclist.” MAG is seeking evidence of wide scale prejudice in the legal system and is exploring ways to have this addressed by legal protocol.

The Motorcycle Action Group is today writing to Attorney General Dominic Grieve asking him to challenge what it describes as “the wholly inadequate” 20-month sentence handed down to Mark Walsh. A person convicted of causing death by dangerous driving is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. MAG is asking Dominic Grieve to refer the case to the Appeal Court immediately with a view to having the sentence increased significantly.