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Teen jailed over charity ride death

Christian Smith
Christian Smith was on a 24-hour “Kent Epic” fundraising ride
A teenager who killed a cyclist during a charity bike ride has been sentenced to five years in prison. Bethany Mackie, 18, was more than twice the legal alcohol limit when her car hit Christian Smith, 38, from behind.

He was cycling alongside his wife on the last leg of a 24-hour, 248-mile ride across Kent and Sussex on 22 March. The father of three was pronounced dead at the scene on the A2990 Old Thanet Way, near Chestfield, Whitstable.

Bethany Mackie
Bethany Mackie was more than twice the legal drink-drive limit

Mackie, of Beltinge Road, Herne Bay, had previously admitted causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol. She was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court. The court heard after she crashed into Mr Smith she carried on up the road for 400 metres.

A black box device fitted by Mackie’s insurance firm to her car revealed she had been driving at up to 76mph on the 60mph road moments before the crash.

Mr Smith’s widow Katie Smith read a victim impact statement before the sentencing. She said:

“I was alone with him on that road and I tried desperately to save him, but I couldn’t. This is something I will always feel guilty for. A short time later I had to wake up my 12, nine and five-year-old to tell them that their daddy was dead. The sounds that they made can only be described as horrifying. I have heard that sound many times over the last few months – from my own mouth as well as theirs.”

Mr Smith was raising money for the mental health charity Mind. More than £82,000 has been raised on his JustGiving webpage, eclipsing his £1,000 target figure.

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