A MOTORIST accused of knocking down and killing a popular father-of-three said he fled the scene of the fatal crash because he believed he had hit a wheelie bin.

Michael Rollason, of Wootton Street, Bedworth, Warwickshire, denies causing the death of Terry Brown by dangerous driving.

The trial of the 39-year-old was opened today, Tuesday, at Liverpool Crown Court.

Rollason has admitted that he was driving the Vauxhall Astra on February 18, 2014 when the car hit Mr Brown.

As the trial was about to begin, Rollason pleaded guilty to one count of causing death by careless driving.

But he denies the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

 The court heard how Mr Brown, aged 47, was cycling along on the A57 Warrington Road, Bold Heath, when the crash happened at around 6.35am.

He was wearing a helmet and a high-visibility jacket and his bike was fitted with a red flashing light.

Prosecuting Simon Christy said: “The visibility was good. Mr Brown rode his bicycle in a perfectly proper manner.

“It was dark but there were street lights and the road is straight and wide.

“Mr Brown was there to be seen. He had taken the proper precautions to make himself visible.”

But as Mr Brown cycled along Warrington Road he was knocked down by Rollason, who failed to stay at the scene.

His car was later found parked near to his home address at 10.10pm on February 18 but was positioned in a manner to ‘obscure’ the view of the extensive damage.

Rollason was arrested and taken away for questioning where he told officers he was not aware that he had hit the cyclist.

Mr Christy added: “He said he thought it was a wheelie bin.

“He was arrested and taken to the police station. He maintained he saw something black rolling along the footpath.”

In the opening of the case, Mr Christy said the prosecution will aim to prove how Rollason’s driving ‘fell far below what is expected of a competent and careful driver.”

He also added how Rollason, who was living in Great Sankey at the time of the incident, had ‘lied’ to his insurance company about the crash as he tried to claim for the damage to his car – even chatting about his no claims bonus.

Mr Christy said: “He lied to his insurance company. He said that the collision had happened the previous evening and that he had struck a wheelie bin. A complete lie.”

The shocking details of the aftermath of the crash were also outlined in the court.

The jury were told how Mr Brown’s bike was found spilt in two in a nearby hedge.

Mr Brown died as a result of serious head injuries.

The trial is expected to resume tomorrow, Wednesday, with the first witness to give their evidence in the morning.

The defence is to open its case later in the week.