A woman BMW driver who had been on Snapchat seconds before she crashed into a cyclist and killed him was today given a suspended jail sentence.
Silan Kaya, 25, was driving alone in a white BMW 220D along Dancers Hill Road, Bentley Heath near Potters Bar when it was in collision with a grey Ridgeback Meteor pedal cycle.
The rider Brian Hart-Leverton, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered severe injuries.
He was taken to The Royal London Hospital where he died eight days later, on Sunday 29th December 2019.
Prosecutor Nigel Ogborne told St Albans crown court the fatal collision took place on Dancers Hill Road, 290m west of the junction with Bentley Heath Lane just before a quarter to three in the afternoon on 21 December 2019.
Ms Kaya, who was on her way to visit a cousin, was travelling west in the direction of Borehamwood and Mr Hart-Leverton was travelling east along the same section of the road, in the direction of Potters Bar.
The prosecution could not say she was on her phone at the time of the collision, but as she approached the scene the BMW strayed into the opposing carriageway.
In the seconds leading up to the collision, it was said she was “interacting” with her mobile phone. There was a span of 30 seconds between the Snapchat ending and the 999 call she made.
Ms Kaya of Cedar Avenue, Enfield denied causing death by dangerous driving and an alternative charge of causing death by careless driving. She was cleared of the death by dangerous charge, but found guilty of causing death by careless driving.
Judge Lana Wood passed a 12-month jail sentence suspended for 2 years. The judge also banned her from driving for 2 years.
In the witness box Ms Kay, who had passed her driving test a year and 10 months before the accident, said: “The cyclist was pretty much approaching me in my lane. After that moment something happened. All I remember was my car coming into the ditch and my glass breaking.
“As soon as my car came to a stop. I immediately ran out of my car to see what was happening on the road. I saw the cyclist. I sought medical help as soon as I could and dialled 999.”
She said she had been looking in her rear view mirror and when she looked ahead again she saw the cyclist.
Under cross-examination by Mr Ogborne she admitted a text dispute with her brother over money continued as she was driving.
Mr Ogborne said: “Your attention was distracted by text messages.”
She replied: “No it was not.”