No jail for van driver who killed Barnoldswick cyclist in hit and run

Michael Isherwood
Michael Isherwood

The family of a Barnoldswick cyclist killed in a hit-and-run accident have said they are “upset and disappointed” the man responsible for his death has walked free from court.

Van driver Andrew Edwards (47), from Cheshire, hit Michael Isherwood on November 22nd. He admitted he had momentarily fallen asleep and drifted into the cycle lane in Kelbrook Road, Salterforth.

Mr Isherwood was catapulted 50m on to banking, leaving only his bike visible at the side of the road. He died soon after at the scene, despite efforts by a passer-by to try to save him.

Edwards had driven on and not stopped, Burnley Crown Court heard.

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to do 200 hours’ community service and was banned from driving for 12 months.

Edwards had admitted causing death by driving without due care and attention, and failing to stop after an accident.

Mr Isherwood (36), a canal boatmaster in Foulridge, was found by passing driver Darren Martindale, who had seen debris on the road and part of a figure on the banking.

He was still alive, though his breathing was laboured, and Mr Martindale administered CPR.

The court heard Edwards had returned to his job as a fruit and vegetable delivery driver that morning after three weeks’ leave. He had been looking after his partner, who had undergone surgery for a brain tumour.

Mr Mark Lamberty (prosecuting) said, after the accident, a builder driving into Salterforth had seen a damaged white van parked in a bus lay-by on the opposite side of the road, and a man pulling the wheel arch with both hands.

Edwards was also said to have seen the aftermath of the accident as he drove back down the same road, but he did not accept that.

The prosecutor said Edwards had given different accounts to people about the van damage.

He claimed a lorry had backed into him, told his employer the van had been hit outside his home, and gave the company’s repairers the same story.

After he had been arrested and cautioned, he said: “Was it that bump yesterday? I didn’t know he was dead.”

In his statement, he said he had blacked out and never saw any cyclist. He thought he had hit roadside furniture.

Mr Jamie Hamilton (for Edwards) said he did not seek to diminish the loss of Mr Isherwood’s family, and had written them a letter, expressing his remorse.

Mr Hamilton said the defendant was now the registered carer for his partner, who had needed several operations due to complications from the brain tumour surgery.

Speaking after the sentencing, Michael’s mother Ivy said: “I feel sorry for his partner, but it doesn’t compare to what happened to Michael.

“It doesn’t seem right, but we have to accept it.

“Whatever the sentence had been, it can’t bring Michael back.”