A Blackpool teenager has been cleared of causing another young man’s death by driving a moped dangerously.
It had been claimed Thomas Barton-Rossall had tried to provoke Cameron Barr into making risky
manoeuvres by doing a wheelie in front of him in the street, a court heard.
A fatal accident occured when Mr Barr, 22, collided with a van in Newhouse Road, Marton, one evening in June last year.
He was not wearing a helmet at the time and the level of alcohol in his system was around two-and-a-half times the legal limit.
Barton-Rossall, 18 of Milford Avenue, North Shore, had denied a charge of causing death by dangerous driving on June 10 last year. He was found not guilty at the end of a Preston Crown court trial.
Barton-Rossall pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and is due to be sentenced for that on September 19.
The jury heard that the deceased, riding a full-sized
motocross bike, was said to have earlier tried and failed to do a wheelie. The collision occurred after he got ahead of the defendant, at one stage.
Neville Biddle, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution suggest that manner of the defendant’s driving was intended to encourage or goad Cameron Barr to take risks that were unsafe. At the bottom of Newhouse Road, the defendant did a second
wheelie, trying to provoke the other male into doing risky manoeuvres”.
The prosecution said in a witness statement on June 10 the defendant had failed to mention the fact he was pulling wheelies, adding: “Neither had he mentioned it when interviewed under caution later that same month.”
Mr Biddle also suggested it was nonsense to claim Barton-Rossall had not known that Mr Barr was behind him until he was overtaken by him.
But in his closing speech to the jury, defence barrister Chris Hudson said: “There is no doubt the defendant has been an idiot, but that is not what he has been charged with. He has conceded that which he has done.”
He pointed to the evidence of one witness who described Mr Barr as having been “a man on a mission”. Mr Hudson
submitted the motorbike was far more powerful than the moped and any race would have been over with before it started. There never was a race, but Cameron Barr had been ‘buzzing’ the defendant.
“It is an absolute tragedy what happened. Cameron Barr took his eyes off the road. When he looked back, it was too late to do anything about it.”
After the jury’s verdict, Barton-Rossall was given a mandatory interim driving ban.
The case has been adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be compiled by the probation service.
Judge Christopher Cornwall told him “All sentencing options remain open to the court, up to and including immediate custody”.
The teenager was remanded on bail.