Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bike Death Motorist Was 'Told Not to Drive'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bike Death Motorist Was 'Told Not to Drive'

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Kennedy Court Reporter

ACYCLIST was mown down and killed by a motorist who had been warned the day before not to drive because of his sleep apnoea, a court heard.

Neil Urwin had been to his doctor's and to see a specialist after suffering tiredness due to his sleeping condition, jurors were told.

But despite allegedly been told he must not drive, he got behind the wheel to go fishing in Northumberland, prosecutors say.

As he drove home, Urwin hit keen and experienced cyclist Andrew Charlton, him, killing him, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Prosecutors say Urwin was either nodding off before the accident or was not concentrating properly due to his tiredness.

The 56-year-old has admitted causing Mr Charlton's death by careless driving but is standing trial on the more serious allegation of causing death by dangerous driving, which he denies.

The court heard Urwin had been treated for obstructive sleep apnoea some years ago and it had allegedly returned in the late spring, early summer of last year.

He had visited his GP in May to ask for help, saying he was feeling tired all the time.

Urwin, who also broke his ribs in June, was referred to see a consultant at a sleep apnoea clinic in July.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett told jurors: "The GP made it clear to the defendant that he should not drive either his own vehicle or any fork lift trucks at work.

"The risk when driving, members of the jury, is obvious."

On August 8, the day before the incident, Urwin had been to hospital for a consultation.

He was given two leaflets to read about sleep apnoea, which referred to the risks of driving with the condition, the prosecutor said.

Mr Bennett added: "Again the prosecution say the doctor on August 8 told the defendant not to drive."

Urwin was scheduled for a sleep study and was given some equipment to wear at night to record his sleep patterns.

The court heard he had a restless sleep that night and the sleep monitor caused him to wake up twice. He decided to get up early the next morning and go fishing in Rothbury.

It was after he had finished fishing that he hit Mr Charlton on the A6079, near Chollerford. …

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