Road Cycling

Pensioner admits killing teacher on morning cycle – BBC News

A pensioner has admitted killing a teacher on his daily cycle after carrying out a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre.

Thomas Smith, 76, hit Adam Pattinson head on as he tried to pass a van and truck when it was unsafe to do so.

Mr Pattinson, 36, died at the scene of the crash on the A912 Aberargie to Bridge of Earn Road, Perth and Kinross, on 28 February 2020.

First offender Smith, of Perth, pled guilty to death by dangerous driving.

He was told he faces a lengthy jail term.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard Mr Pattinson, who was a primary teacher at Craigclowan prep school on the outskirts of Perth, was married with a seven-month-old son.

Advocate depute William Frain-Bell said: “He was a very enthusiastic teacher at this school where he had been a pupil.

“His local community was very important to him as was demonstrated by his commitment to the school and Perthshire rugby club.

“There is a significant sense of loss experienced at the school by pupils and staff alike.”

‘Big Friendly Teacher’

Mr Frain-Bell said the victim was affectionately known by pupils as the BFT, shorthand for Big Friendly Teacher.

He added: “The consistent theme was the impression he left on pupils which went beyond mere education and extended to important lessons on life.”

The court heard he was “delighted” to have recently become become a father and was the captain of Perthshire rugby club.

On the morning of his death Mr Pattinson told his wife, Claire, that he was going for his bike ride and she was expecting him home before he went to work.

The prosecutor said he set off wearing full cycling kit, including a helmet and high visibility jacket and with lights on his bike.

At about 06:30 Smith was driving his Citroen C4 Cactus car behind a lorry and a Ford Transit van.

The lorry driver could see the light on Mr Pattinson’s oncoming bike.

Mr Frain-Bell said: “The accused attempted to overtake both the Transit van and the articulated lorry.

“While carrying out the overtake Smith collided with Adam Pattinson head on.”

‘Very poor decision’

The court heard the teacher was thrown into the air and came to rest on a grass verge.

Smith’s vehicle came into contact with the lorry before leaving the road and colliding with a hedge and coming to rest on the grass verge.

He said the lorry driver became aware of Smith’s car behind him moving out to overtake but thought it was not moving fast enough to pass him and get back in so applied his brake.

Crash investigators said Smith pulled out into a position where he would have been aware of the oncoming cycle light.

The police report said it was a “very poor decision for the driver to proceed”.

It added: “From the moment the driver pulled out to start his overtake, he would have been aware of the cycle light moving towards him and he hasn’t reacted in any way to its presence.”

Mrs Pattinson had become concerned that her husband had not returned home and she called his phone but got no answer.

Officers later arrived at her home to inform her that her husband had been in a fatal road traffic collision.

‘Utterly tragic case’

The court heard a post mortem examination found Mr Pattinson had sustained severe widespread injuries and suffered a “catastrophic internal haemorrhage”.

The teacher would have lost consciousness immediately and died within a minute or two.

Smith was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee but only sustained minor injuries.

Defence counsel David Nicolson said: “This is indeed an utterly tragic case and it is clear from all accounts that Mr Pattinson was an extremely impressive young man.”

The judge, Lord Arthurson, told Smith he had admitted “an extremely grave criminal charge” and should appreciate it was highly likely that he would impose a substantial sentence of imprisonment.

He deferred sentence until next month for the preparation of a background report and, after imposing an interim driving ban, agreed to continue his bail.

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