A LORRY driver who killed a cyclist after failing to give way at junction has been spared jail.

‘Much-loved’ husband, son and uncle Joseph Clarke – an army veteran who served his country in Afghanistan during a decade in the forces – died in hospital aged 28 a week after the tragic crash in summer 2020.

David Clarke, from Longbarn, was handed a 24-week imprisonment suspended for two years at Manchester Magistrates Court today, Friday, after admitting causing the 28-year-old’s death by careless driving.

Warrington Guardian:

The court heard that the victim was riding his bike in a cycle lane on Ashburton Road West in Trafford on the afternoon of Friday, June 12, when the collision occurred.

Travelling in a Mercedes HGV at between 10 and 12mph, the defendant turned left onto the road at its junction with Wheel Forge Way.

But the 57-year-old, who is no relation, ‘failed to give way and continued without slowing or braking’.

His lorry collided with the cyclist, who was dragged beneath the front off-side of the vehicle.

The court was shown footage recorded from the dashcam of the lorry and the rider’s helmet-mounted camera – a video in which he could repeatedly be heard saying ‘I love my wife’ – as well as CCTV.

Joseph Clarke – who ‘should have been visible as the defendant approached the junction’ – was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital having suffered life-threatening injuries, but died seven days later.

His wife Cassie, who was only able to visit her husband once during his time in hospital due to Covid restrictions – read out an emotional statement ahead of the sentencing.

She told the court: “He was kind, generous and thoughtful.

“Joe was the man who saw an elderly man standing in the rain and gave him a lift to where he needed to be.

“The stories are endless.

“He would do anything for his friends and family, and for me.

“Joe was my everything. He was supposed to be my life partner, but all that was taken away from me.

“I would do anything to have him back. I wish every day that you had killed us both, because this is a living hell.

“My life is empty and meaningless.

“Joe was a beautiful human being, and this world is worse off without him.”

Warrington Guardian:

His sister Jennifer Travis also paid tribute to her brother in court, adding: “His life was taken away from him and every person in his life has been shattered.

“If there is a hell and we were to go there, it wouldn’t be far off the last 18 months.

“Joseph was the light of my mum’s life.

“His life was cut short, and there is now an intense hurt in her which I doubt will ever go away.

“My dad is broken and in a state of shock – he isn’t here. My children are confused – the younger ones don’t fully understand why their uncle isn’t here anymore.

“I’m grieving for a person I loved deeply and who I would trade everything I own to speak to one more time.

“He was a phenomenal young man who had an endless amount of energy and a real love of life.”

David Clarke, of Blackburne Close, worked as a lorry driver for 30 years but has not been behind the wheel of a HGV since.

The granddad, who has no previous convictions, was also handed 200 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for two years.

Sentencing, district judge Jack McGarva said: “On June 12 2020, Joseph Clarke – a much loved family man with all his life ahead of him – didn’t go home.

“He was there to be seen and he was in a cycle lane – he did nothing wrong, and his life was taken away from him because you pulled out of a side road into the main road without stopping.

“Because you took that chance, a young man’s life has been needlessly wasted.

“You are sorry for what you have done, and I accept that you will have to life with that for the rest of your life.

“Joseph’s family have got a life sentence as well.

“Nothing can put this right nothing – nothing I can do can correct that.

“The only sentence that would match the impact on the family would be a life sentence, and I can’t do that.

“That wouldn’t be a proportionate response to what you did.

“The driving we are talking about only lasted a few seconds, but it only takes a few seconds to take a life.

“This wasn’t a momentary lapse – this is someone who just didn’t stop, and in my mind you didn’t intend to stop.

“You are clearly a man of good character who has never been in trouble before, and there are references which speak highly of you.

“My view is that these offences are so serious that a fine or community sentence cannot be justified.

“But I’ve decided to suspend the prison sentence – sending you directly to prison at your age would not bring Joseph back.

“While it would bring about some revenge, I’m of the view that I should suspended the sentence because you pleaded guilty and because of your previous good character.”

David Clarke was also ordered to pay a £128 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.