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Death crash driver sent to jail

Picture shows BTCC race driver Frank Wrathall, 26 arriving at Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing after being found guilty of death by careless driving after he killed a cyclist while on his phone  See ROSS PARRY copy RPYDRIVER  A championship motor racing driver knocked down and killed a cyclist while he was talking to his girlfriend on his mobile phone, a court heard today. Frank Wrathall, 26, was chatting to model Zara Watt for almost eight minutes with one hand on the steering wheel before his van was involved in a collision with victim Paul Fingleton on a roundabout, it was said. The British Touring Car Championship driver, of Barnacre, Lancashire, denies causing the death of the 47-year-old father-of-one by dangerous driving at Preston Crown Court. Opening the trial, Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said Wrathall was on his mobile phone at the time of the fatal collision at Broughton roundabout on the A6 near Preston on May 14 last year. The Citroen van he was driving did not have any Bluetooth and there

Picture shows BTCC race driver Frank Wrathall, 26 arriving at Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing after being found guilty of death by careless driving after he killed a cyclist while on his phone See ROSS PARRY copy RPYDRIVER A championship motor racing driver knocked down and killed a cyclist while he was talking to his girlfriend on his mobile phone, a court heard today. Frank Wrathall, 26, was chatting to model Zara Watt for almost eight minutes with one hand on the steering wheel before his van was involved in a collision with victim Paul Fingleton on a roundabout, it was said. The British Touring Car Championship driver, of Barnacre, Lancashire, denies causing the death of the 47-year-old father-of-one by dangerous driving at Preston Crown Court. Opening the trial, Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said Wrathall was on his mobile phone at the time of the fatal collision at Broughton roundabout on the A6 near Preston on May 14 last year. The Citroen van he was driving did not have any Bluetooth and there

A top touring car motor racing driver who knocked down and killed a cyclist while he was talking to his girlfriend on his mobile phone has been jailed for 21 months.

Frank Wrathall, 27, once a successful British Touring Car Championship driver whose career now lies in tatters, was chatting to model Zara Watt for almost eight minutes with one hand on the steering wheel before his van was involved in a collision on a roundabout on May 14 last year.

“Devoted family man” Paul Fingleton, 47, had been at a nearby tennis club with his wife Anne, watching his 14-year-old daughter Hannah play tennis, before leaving early to prepare supper for his family.

Wrathall, who was driving a Citroen van and towing his racing car, failed to spot Mr Fingleton and cut across him at the roundabout – knocking the chartered accountant off his bicycle and leaving him with severe injuries to his head and spine.

Jailing him at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Mark Brown said: “You had a flagrant disregard for the law which led to the premature and tragic death of Mr Fingleton.

“That collision took place because you didn’t take the necessary care to see him in time. You didn’t spot him until it was too late.”

Wrathall, from Barnacre, near Garstang, previously pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and accepted he had been on his mobile phone at the time of the fatal collision at Broughton roundabout on the A6.

Wrathall, who was described as “a polite and responsible young man,” was jailed for 21 months and banned from driving for four years.

Mark Aldred, for Wrathall, whose driving record was described as “excellent,” told the court his career as a racing driver is over.

An automatic number plate recognition camera, situated above the junction, showed Wrathall, who is “extremely popular in the world of motorsports,” using his phone as he approached the sliproad seconds before the collision.

The van he was driving did not have any Bluetooth and there was no facility for hands-free calling.

Mr Fingleton, who was described as a religious man, had been wearing a bright red top at the time of the accident and although he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, the court heard that this would not have saved him.

He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital where medical staff worked for several hours to try to save his life but sadly died from his injuries.

The father-of-one was described as a “devoted family man” who gave all his time to his family and who used to sit “side by side” with his daughter, helping her with her homework.

Judge Brown added: “Mr Fingleton had many years ahead of him and his family expected him to enjoy a long and fulfilling life.

“He was dearly loved by his wife and daughter. His wife Anne described him as a very special person who was generous and caring.

“He had a wide circle of friends and it is a testament to his character that he had a following of loyal and dedicated staff.

“He was a wonderful husband and father and he would have been particularly proud by what his daughter has achieved at school over the last year.

“His daughter can’t begin to express how much she misses him and his death kills her a little bit every day.

“You have deprived Mr Fingleton of a full life and have taken away from his family the continuous love, affection and compassion that he would have given them.

“His death will be followed by lifelong grief and pain.”

As he was led away, Mr Fingleton’s wife Anne, who was joined by other members of her family, sobbed.

Mark Aldred, for Wrathall, whose driving record was described as “excellent,” told the court his career as a racing driver is over.

 
 
 

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