Biker guilty of causing the death of his wife

A MOTORCYCLIST’S “serious error of judgement” resulted in the death of his wife when he collided with a car while riding to a favourite Whitby biker’s haunt.

Valerie Reid (48) died at the scene of the accident on the A171, at the turnoff to the village of Lealholm, on 3 June last year.

She had been the pillion passenger on the high-powered motorcycle ridden by her husband, Michael Reid, as they made their way to a regular Thursday night out at the Whistlestop Café.

Reid (49) of Park Lane, Guisborough, pleaded guilty before York Crown Court on Friday to causing the death of his wife by careless driving – a not guilty plea to causing the death by dangerous driving being accepted by the prosecution.

Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, said that a holidaying family were making their way back to a rented cottage in Lealholm, turning right in their car off the A171, when Reid tried to overtake and smashed into their car.

The court heard that four other cars, slowing behind the turning car, were also overtaken by Reid prior to the crash.

Mr Mitcheson said that initially Reid’s daughter was to have been on the back of the motorcycle, but at the last minute Mrs Reid had made it home and decided to go to the café instead.

The court heard that Mrs Reid’s tight knit family had expressed their desire that a degree of mercy be extended to her husband, who himself had received serious injuries, including seven fractures, and would still be on crutches for up to two years.

Richard Clewes, mitigating, said that there was no question of Reid having been speeding prior to the accident.

He added that Reid had already suffered greatly through the loss of his wife and his own injuries, and would probably continue to do so for the rest of his life.

Passing a six month jail sentence, suspended for two years, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said that in such cases the law allowed a degree of leniency.

Adding that the death had resulted from a “serious error of judgement”, the judge said he hoped that the court proceedings would “bring a measure of closure to the family”.

Reid was also placed under 12 months Supervision, to provide help for the whole family in coming to terms with the death, and also banned him from driving for 12 months.