Widow's plea over husband's killer

Christine CunninghamThe grieving widow of a motorcyclist, who died after a driver carelessly pulled out in front of him on the A47, pleaded for his killer to be spared jailed, saying enough lives had been ruined.Christine Cunningham

The grieving widow of a motorcyclist, who died after a driver carelessly pulled out in front of him on the A47, pleaded for his killer to be spared jailed yesterday, saying enough lives had been ruined.

Sue Capes said the loss of her husband David, a leading Norfolk blacksmith and craftsman, had been devastating for his family and though the actions of driver David Everson had been criminal, she thought he would be better punished by carrying out work for the benefit of the community.

Mrs Capes said an important factor was that 41-year-old Everson had accepted responsibility and admitted his guilt. He had also written a letter to the family to say how sorry he was.

She said: 'He has accepted liability and he has written a letter of apology to me. I am willing to accept that in the spirit in which it was written.

'It still does not change how I feel about the accident but if he went to prison it would ruin many more lives.

'Although what he did was a criminal act, he is not a criminal.'

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Yesterday Everson, of Manor Close, Hockering, near Dereham, appeared at Norwich Crown Court for sentence after admitting causing the death of 60-year-old Mr Capes by careless driving in April last year.

The court heard Mrs Capes did not want to see Everson jailed and in a statement she had said there were 'no winners' in a situation like this and wanted Everson to realise how many lives had been changed because of his actions.

Judge Paul Downes said Mrs Capes was 'remarkable' for the attitude she had shown.

He accepted Everson, who was of previous good character, had written a letter of apology but said the consequences for Mr Capes family had been 'incalculable'.

He ordered Everson, a chicken sexer, to do 200 hours' unpaid work and pay costs of �800. He also imposed a 12 month driving ban and ordered Everson to take an extended driving test before getting back behind the wheel.

Jonathan Morgans, prosecuting, said Mr Capes, of East Tuddenham, was driving along the A47 when motorist Everson pulled out in front of him from a junction at Hockering.

He said Everson admitted he had seen the lights of the motorbike but misjudged his timing.

'In effect Mr Capes had no chance at all.'

He said Mr Capes was declared dead at the scene.

John Smitheman, for Everson, said he wanted to offer his condolences to Mr Capes family.

He said the letter of apology Everson sent to the family had been 'heartfelt' and he fully accepted he was to blame.

After the case Mrs Capes said she was satisfied with the sentence and thanked the police and PC Ian Thexton for all their support as well as friends and colleagues from the blacksmith community.