THE widow of a man killed when he was knocked from his bike has spoken of how her loss has impacted on her family.
Neil Hamilton, 60, of Offerton Close, South Hylton, died on April 3 last year when his motorcycle was involved in a collision with a Mitubishi 4x4 being driven by Anthony Shelton on a lane near Tow Law.
The 51-year-old from Castle View, Esh Winning, initially pleaded guilty to the charge of causing death by careless driving, but as his trial at Durham Crown Court was just about to start, he admitted the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
Mr Hamilton was a teacher and road safety campaigner, who taught others to ride their bikes through RoSPA, holding the highest level of qualification with the group.
Shelton was yesterday given a sentence of 16 months in jail.
Following the case, Mr Hamilton’s wife Christine, 55, who has been supported through the tragedy by the couple’s children Mark and Christopher, said: “The sentence that Mr Shelton has received today will hopefully give him time to reflect on the impact that losing my husband Neil has had on me and my sons, as well as our family and the many friends who miss him so much.
“Having read my victim impact statement in court today, I hope Mr Shelton realises that the life he took has left a massive void in the lives of all who knew him.
“My husband has been robbed of many more years of life which would have been full and productive. “Through no fault of his own he has now left me a widow to spend those years on my own.
“I found no comfort in Mr Shelton pleading guilty on the first day of the scheduled trial in February as he could have pleaded guilty at any time during the past 11 months since the collision.
“This would have saved myself and my family the immense stress and heartache of having to endure those months of waiting for a trial that never happened, feeling cheated that he didn’t have to stand up in court and fully admit his guilt, and give an account of his actions when he took the life of my husband.”