Sunderland family's anger as case against son's death suspect is dropped

A couple have spoken of their anger after the case against the biker accused of killing their son collapsed nearly two years after his death.

By Gavin Ledwith
Friday, 08 March, 2019, 13:24
Linda and Dan Golden with a photograph of late dead Frazer.

Dan and Linda Golden feel "numb with frustration" that David John Frost will not face a jury trial over the death of Frazer Golden.

The Sunderland couple's 30-year-old son died after his motor cycle was involved in a head-on collision with a second bike ridden by Mr Frost in April 2017.

Motorbike collision victim Frazer Golden.

After the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) initially decided against prosecuting Mr Frost, now 35, on the grounds of "insufficient evidence", the Goldens forced a u-turn after applying for an official Victim's Right to Review.

Mr Frost, of Lyon Street, Hebburn, was last year charged with causing death by careless driving with the case against him due to continue at Durham Crown Court earlier this month.

Less than a week before the hearing, however, the Goldens said they were informed that the CPS had decided to drop the case after a further review.

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Golden senior, 68, said: "We feel numb with frustration at what has happened.

"It has taken so long to get this far and feel as though the rug has been pulled from under our feet at the 11th hour.

"We don't see why the case could not have been heard by a judge and jury so that they could decide what happened."

The Goldens, backed by daughters Louise Golden, 41, and Faye Golden, 31, are now considering whether to seek a judicial review of the case or even a private prosecution.

Mr Golden senior, a retired electrician, said: "We feel so let down by the CPS.

"They told us by telephone on the Monday that they were going to drop the case and then we had a meeting on the Wednesday when they explained why in person to us.

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"It left us with practically no time to do anything about it before the case on Friday.

"To be honest, we have not been impressed all along. We've had letters from them with mistakes in and they even spelled Frazer's name wrong."

Police say the two bikes collided on Sunday, April 9, 2017, while travelling in the opposite direction to each other on the A689, near St John's Chapel, in Weardale, at around 2pm.

Nissan maintenance worker Mr Golden, who lived with partner Helen Gaughan, 24, in Seaham, was enjoying a day out in the Durham Dales with a fellow motorcycle enthusiast and did not know Yamaha rider Mr Frost.

The former Farringdon Community Academy pupil died after his Honda bike hit a dry stone wall.

Letters sent to the Goldens by the CPS suggest that the accounts given by witnesses were contradictory.

Mrs Golden, 65, a housewife, said: "We have been so up and down over the last two years with the CPS changing its mind all the time.They don't know the torment we have been through.

"We begged them to let a judge and jury listen to the people present that fateful day and hear the facts. But they have refused."

A CPS Spokesperson said: “Although there were some eye-witness accounts which suggested that the charged defendant was at fault, the police expert’s forensic evidence supported his defence that he was riding at a safe speed in the correct part of the road immediately before the incident.

"Any prosecution would have to prove that his riding had fallen below the standard of a reasonably competent rider, but the overall evidential picture did not provide a realistic prospect of conviction for the offence of causing death by careless driving.

“Some decisions are very finely balanced and this case had previously been subject to a Victim’s Right to Review, a request for an independent review of our initial decision not to prosecute.

"At the conclusion of that process the North-East Chief Crown Prosecutor, Andrew Penhale, reviewed the file and decided that the CPS should formally offer no evidence.

"He met the Golden family to explain his decision, two days’ ahead of the final hearing at Durham Crown Court.”

With criminal proceedings now ended, a County Durham and Darlington Coroner's Court inquest is shortly expected to continue in which witnesses are likely to be called to give evidence.