'Lenient' death crash sentence angers family

'Lenient' death crash sentence angers family

Trevor Ashworth

Tsz Fok

First published in News by

A dustcart driver who crushed a cyclist to death, has avoided jail - angering his victim's family and friends.

Trevor Ashworth, 31, was fined £500 and banned from driving for eight months today after being found guilty of careless driving.

Oxford University student Tsz Fok, 22, died after Ashworth's truck ran him over while turning left from Broad Street into Parks Road in Oxford last April.

Delivering his verdict, District Judge Brian Loosley said Ashworth should have known his mirror was not adjusted properly.

Ashworth turned left, crushing Mr Fok and his bicycle because he could not see him.

Outside court, family friend Htun Aye, 63, who had known Mr Fok since he was a boy, said he thought Ashworth should have been jailed.

He added: "My personal feelings are he should have got a custodial sentence.

"Tsz's family are not coping very well.

"They are still devastated and find it very difficult at this time.

"He did not deliberately set out to kill Tsz, but unfortunately, it is a matter of fact that a young character - a person whose life was just starting - has been taken."

After the four-day trial held at Wantage Magistrates' Court, Judge Loosley said Ashworth had driven without due care and attention because he had been making mobile phone calls shortly before the collision, and failed to notice his faulty mirror.

He said: "The city centre is heavily populated by pedestrians and cyclists and, in my view, no reasonable, competent or prudent driver would drive that lorry in that state in Oxford on that morning, because of the inherent danger posed to other people."

But Mr Fok was not blameless because he should have waited for Ashworth to turn before he set off from the traffic lights, the judge added.

Sgt Peter Jell, of Bicester Roads Police, backed the verdict and sentence.

He said: "This case shows drivers of large vehicles should know there are so many cyclists and pedestrians about in Oxford and must take extra care when driving and turning into junctions."

Ashworth, of Theale, near Reading, ran from court to a waiting vehicle and made no comment.

He must also pay £1,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Fok's parents flew to England from Hong Kong yesterday but did not attend court.

Ed Lehmann, of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox, said: "I'm too cross for words.

"This kind of tragedy and this kind of trivial response by the court is one of the reasons why the Government is looking to change legislation in order to make killing people with a motor vehicle a serious offence."

James Styring, chairman of Cyclox, said: "This is an extraordinarily light sentence."

Louise Randall, OUSU vice president (welfare and equal opportunities), said: "Since Tsz's death, safety for cyclists at the Broad Street junction has not improved."

Tsz Fok was predicted to earn top marks in his degree at Worcester College.

In the days after his death, tutors and fellow classmates described him as a brilliant student who was on course for a "star-studded first" in his engineering degree.

He arrived in England from Hong Kong aged 12 and was a child prodigy, gaining seven A grades at A-Level.

Last year, he had work published in a Royal Academy of Engineering book. He was also a talented musician.

The student was heavily involved in college life as treasurer of RAG (Raise and Give), secretary of Worcester College's junior common room and captain of coxes for the Worcester College boat club.

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