Park Street motorcyclist involved in fatal collision branded 'irresponsible' by St Albans Crown Court judge
PUBLISHED: 17:42 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:35 05 December 2016
An 'irresponsible' speeding motorcyclist who knocked down and killed a 71-year-old man has been jailed for four years at St Albans Crown Court.
Luke Stella, 26, of Park Street Lane, Park Street, was driving home from work on April 14, 2014 on his Suzuki motorbike when he hit Francis Abbott in Mutton Lane, Potters Bar.
Mr Abbott, who was walking home from Sainsbury’s with his shopping, was killed and Stella suffered a broken leg.
The dead man’s daughter, Julie Abbott, who waited for the ambulance with her father after the collision, told the court on Wednesday (30): “Each and every one of us has been affected. Not affected – traumatised.
“When someone is killed so suddenly and in such horrific circumstances, it’s so much harder to cope with. I could not take that pain away. I could not stop his suffering.
“Dad had so much left in him. He was not ready to go. We are all so heartbroken.
“I hope Luke understands what he has done to my family. We want justice for what happened that day. We have never had any remorse from him and this adds to our pain.”
A witness in Mutton Lane reported seeing Stella performing wheelies on his bike before the crash.
Although Stella claimed in a police interview that his motorcycle was incapable of doing so, footage on his Instagram account showed him performing the manoeuvre on the same bike.
Stella was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving at St Albans Crown Court on October 31.
During sentencing Alistair Polson, defending, said: “The death of Mr Abbott is something which has caused him profound grief and distress. Mr Stella is a shadow, emotionally and physically, of his former self.
“He has had these proceedings hanging over his head for two-and-a-half-years. This was against the background of his own physical injuries which were extremely significant and which are ongoing.”
Mr Polson asked the judge to take into account letters from Stella’s family and friends, referring to ‘his good character’.
Judge Stephen Warner sentenced the motorcyclist to four years in prison, of which he will serve two years before being released on licence. He has also been banned from driving for three-and-a-half-years, after which he must take an extended driving test.
The judge said: “Precisely how fast you were going cannot be said with certainty, but it’s clear it was too fast in all circumstances.
“Your rode your bike in a way which was highly irresponsible, without regard for the safety of other road users.
“This case is a tragedy for everybody concerned, first and foremost for Mr Abbott and his family and friends. He was a father, a grandfather and the carer for his wife.
“You will have to acknowledge that your actions that day resulted in the loss of another person’s life. Of course you did not intend for that to happen.
“I have read references from friends and family who speak very highly of you. You come from a good and caring family and I do not underestimate the effect this has had on them as well.”