A CARELESS driver has been jailed for causing the death of a cyclist after crashing into him on a dual carriageway, a loss which has torn his family apart.

Mark Treasure was jailed for causing death by careless driving after he ploughed into father Anthony Ryder from behind on the A449 at Claines, near Worcester, taking his eyes off the road for up to 12 seconds before the crash.

The 55-year-old of Green Lane, Bevere, was jailed for four months at Worcester Crown Court yesterday following the crash on December 22, 2017. Paramedics arrived at the scene but nothing could be done to save Mr Ryder.

Treasure had denied the offence at a hearing at the city's magistrates court in November last year but changed his plea to guilty at the first hearing at crown court earlier this month.

Family, including the cyclist's widow, wept as they were permitted to sit in the courtroom as Treasure was jailed, looking directly at him as he was taken down to begin his four month prison sentence.

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Mr Ryder, struck from behind by Treasure's Fiat Doblo, died at the scene despite a witness in another car saying the 46-year-old had been 'lit up like a Christmas tree' and was wearing a high visibility jacket.

Witnesses following behind Treasure in an Audi said he did not signal, brake or make any attempt to avoid the cyclist in the nearside carriageway.

Raj Punia, prosecuting, said it had been damp, foggy and dark on the morning of the crash but that the cyclist was wearing a bright fluorescent tabard and had working lights, some of which increased in intensity when they detected vehicles approaching.

In interview Treasure said it was 'simply an accident' and he had not seen the rear red light of the cyclist at any time and that it was 'not the best visibility'.

His widow Dianne Walton-Ryder, who has multiple sclerosis, said in a victim personal statement that she had been married to her husband for 22 years and they had three children, describing him as 'my absolute rock' and said 'he did everything for me, everything'.

She said as a result of his death she had been forced to sell her home and is to move to a bungalow. Mr Ryder worked as a manufacturing manager in Southco in Worcester and was due to become a general manager this year.

Mrs Walton-Ryder described how her husband's mother Sue died eight weeks after her son, telling the court: "She just gave up. The person responsible for his death has torn my family apart."

The prosecutor argued that it was an aggravating feature that Treasure had taken his eyes off the road for 11 to 12 seconds, the court heard.

Nick Berry, defending, said: "Nothing I would say seeks to diminish the everlasting effect of their loss but instead my submissions are designed to assist the court with this sentencing exercise."

He described how Treasure's attention was diverted for the purpose of observing a vehicle behind him as it moved into the fast lane, looking in his wing mirror two or three times before looking back to see Mr Ryder.

"What followed was the collision and the tragic death of Mr Ryder" said Mr Berry.

Mr Berry spoke of Treasure's 'shame' at not being able to assist police further during the interview.

Treasure has since written a letter to the family which Mr Berry did not read out to the court, arguing that its contents were private.

He said Treasure had told him: "I have a family of my own and if I could take back and undo it I would. The pain I caused is awful."

Mr Berry said Treasure estimated he was driving at about 50mph and that he had not consumed alcohol or drugs and had not being using a mobile phone or a Sat Nav at the time of the crash.

"The defendant was, before that fateful day, a careful and considerate driver" said Mr Berry who argued that Treasure's remorse was 'acute'.

He cited the remarks of a probation officer who said in her report that in her 40 years in the job she had rarely seen the level of remorse Treasure had shown. Mr Berry also argued that Treasure was a man of not only previous good character but 'positive good character'.

Judge Jim Tindal told Treasure that the people behind him in the Audi could see the cyclist and that he also should have been able to see him.

He said: "I can only infer from the fact you did not see him that you were not paying any real or proper attention to the road for a significant period of time.

"This was not in my judgement a case of momentary inattention."

He said of Mr Ryder: "He was the linchpin of his family and was taken away from them." The judge sentenced Treasure to four months in prison of which he can expect to serve half in custody and half on licence.

He described this as 'an appropriate punishment given the chasm that has been left in Mr Ryder's family by his death'.

He banned him from driving for three years and two months so that the disqualification after his release from prison will run for exactly three years.

He did not order that Treasure complete an extended driving retest which is discretionary in cases of careless driving.

The family said after the hearing: "We are pleased justice has been done and are happy that he has received a custodial sentence, albeit for a short time.

"We hope this will increase awareness of vulnerable road users like cyclists in future."

Speaking after Mr Ryder's death his widow praised him as an incredibly clever and creative man.