An 18-year-old driver has been told to expect a prison sentence after she pleaded guilty to causing the death of a charity cyclist while over the limit. Bethany Mackie, of Beltinge Road, Herne Bay, was driving along the Old Thanet Way on March 22 when she crashed into 38.year-old Christian Smith while he was on a marathon 24-hour ride through Sussex and Kent. Appearing at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday last week the tearful youngster admitted causing death by dangerous driving and being over the legal limit. She was granted bail while probation reports are prepared, but Judge Adele Williams told her that “a custodial sentence is inevitable”. Prosecution barrister Miss Amy Packham told the court how Mr Smith was approaching the Chestfleld roundabout near the end of his charity ride at 4am. She said:
“The clothes he was wearing were appropriate for the conditions and he had lights on the rear of his bicycle.”
The father-of-three was following his wife Katie along the A2990, who was driving a support car providing refreshment. Mackie was driving a Peugeot 206 in the same direction. Miss Packham added:
“She simply drove into him and caused the injuries which led to his death. A reading of her breath, taken three hours later, showed she had 73 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, over twice the limit.”
Mr Smith, from Boughton Aluph, was completing the last leg of a 248-mile ride round Kent to raise money for the mental health charity Mind. His death led to an outpouring donations to his Just Giving page, which riced to £80,000, smashing the target of £1,000. In April many of the runners taking part in the London and Brighton marathons for Mind agreed to wear blue ribbons in tribute to his efforts.
Herne Bay Gazette, November 27th 2014