A motorcyclist convicted of dangerous driving, while out on a ride with two friends who died in an accident, has been given a suspended prison term.
Daren Leslie had been cleared of two charges of causing death by dangerous driving over the fatal events on Mythop Road, Weeton, in September 2012.
A jury had convicted the 26-year-old, of Norfolk Road, Blackpool, of two counts of dangerous driving following a trial at Preston Crown Court.
He has now been given eight months prison, suspended for two years, with 12 months supervision and 200 hours unpaid work.
He was banned from driving for two years and must take an extended test before driving again in future.
His friends, Patrick Cresswell and Suzanne Smith, had been riding a separate motorycle when they were fatally injured. The defendant had gone out with them for a ride, but was not involved in any accident. His two close friends were on one machine, while he himself was riding another motorcycle, a Suzuki.
Judge Stuart Baker stressed as he passed sentence that while he had the greatest sympathy for the families of the deceased, the two deaths were not attributable to Leslie.
He dealt with him on the basis of his driving where the road passed over a railway, up to a point approaching where the accident occurred.
Witnesses in the trial had spoken of him driving at speed. He reduced the distance between vehicles ahead by pulling in sharply in between them.
He overtook, or gave the appearance he intended to overtake, on approach to bends.
Leslie had told the court in evidence that he had been following his friend, within what he believed to be a safe distance. He had not been competing with him.
He had just seen the other bike flip towards the tractor, he said.
He had no previous driving offences on his record.
Peter Horgan, defending, said his client maintained his account of what happened that day.
“He and his wife have been significantly affected by the outcome of the events of that fateful day.
“He has, to some extent, resorted to binge drinking to block matters out. There has been no further offending from him.
“The loss of his two friends simply cannot be measured. While not a direct cause of it, whatever involvement he had, he will have to live with the fact for the rest of his life”.
Judge Baker told Leslie: “By the jury’s finding, on this day you allowed your pleasure seeking, or the thrill, or excitment of riding this motorcycle on a quiet country road to get the better of you.
“Although your driving hasn’t resulted in the death of those two people, that was the outcome of this journey.”