Family who lost their son in a crash make an amazing gesture of forgiveness to the Banbury postman who admitted driving carelessly
The family of a motorcyclist who was killed when he was hit by a Royal Mail van which turned right as he was overtaking it do not feel any ill-will towards the postman who was driving.
And a judge at Warwick Crown Court has praised the forgiving attitude of rider Simon Welsh’s family towards Banbury postal worker Dean Travers as ‘a paragon of human decency.’
Travers (53) of Mold Crescent, Banbury, who was not wearing his bifocal glasses at the time, had pleaded guilty to causing 42-year-old Mr Welsh’s death by careless driving.
And after the circumstances of the tragic collision on the B4100 Banbury Road at Warmington in south Warwickshire had been outlined, he was given a 12-month community order.
Judge Peter Cooke also banned him from driving for 12 months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Tom Kenning said that at 11.50 on the morning of Saturday 15 September 2018, Travers was working as a postman, making deliveries to businesses in the Warmington area using a small red Royal Mail Peugeot van.
Having delivered to the T H Boler car dealership, he made a left turn onto the B4100, a rural road with a 50mph limit.
Travers was then due to make a right turn just 50 yards along the road onto the car park of the Falcon pub, where he was due to make his next delivery, on the opposite side of the road.
Mr Kenning pointed out: “It has been established that when he pulled out of T H Boler he could, if he had chosen to, see about 300 metres back down the road to the right.
“Travelling in the same direction, coming from his right, was Simon Welsh, aged 42, on a Honda 900cc motorcycle, and his headlight was on.”
A CCTV camera from T H Boler showed him doing 37mph on the off-side of the road, and the inference was that he was going to overtake the Royal Mail vehicle ahead of him.
“The defendant would have had seven seconds to see, if he had been looking, the motorcycle travelling from his right.
“The evidence suggests the Peugeot driver did indicate his intention to turn right, but he failed to perceive the Honda, which was there to be seen.
“He then turned right towards the entrance of the Falcon, across the path of the Honda which was almost alongside the Peugeot, and the two vehicles collided.”
Mr Kenning said the front off-side of the van collided with the Honda, as a result of which Mr Welsh, from Leamington, suffered fatal injuries.
Judge Cooke, who had earlier observed that Mr Welsh had ‘about three-and-a-half times the legal limit’ of cannabis in his system, commented: “A contributory factor to the accident was his poor decision to begin an overtaking manoeuvre before waiting to see what the Peugeot was going to do.”
Mr Kenning said that when Travers, who was not wearing his distance glasses at the time, was interviewed, he said he did not see the Honda until the last moment.
The court heard that Mr Welsh’s father Kevin Welsh had written a statement on behalf of the family.
Although it was not read out in court, Judge Cooke said: “He has summoned up the courage to speak on behalf of the family to say they feel no ill-will towards Mr Travers for what they accept was a tragic accident.
“It is a paragon of human decency for the family to respond in that way.”
Ian Windridge, defending, said: “Can I start by extending the sympathy of all concerned in this matter to the Welsh family.
“Mr Travers was not aware Mr Welsh’s father had made that statement. He was touched. He and those with him acknowledge the very generous approach from the family.”
Of the collision, Mr Windridge said: “His mistake was not looking, not seeing what was there to be seen.”
He said that since the incident, the Royal Mail had taken Travers from van deliveries and moved him to foot deliveries, and are still to consider his future position.
Expressing the hope that he would not lose his job, Judge Cooke observed that a number of people on Travers’ delivery round had provided references, including one which described him as ‘a great ambassador for Royal Mail.’
“It is against that that a few seconds’ lapse of observation needs to be set in context.”
The judge told Travers: “The Royal Mail Peugeot van you were driving was involved in a collision which tragically proved fatal to the rider of a Honda motorcycle, Simon Welsh.
“You had made one delivery, and you executed a left turn onto the road, with a view to making a right turn onto the forecourt of the Falcon pub.
“What you failed to do was observe a motorcycle coming from your right, and which had embarked on the exercise, ill-advised as it turned out, of overtaking your van – and you began the right turn with tragic results.
“It was a relatively brief, but still significant, period of inattention. You failed to see the motorcycle which was plainly there to be seen.”