Brown was struck from behind by Michael Rollason on Warrington Road, Bold Heath at around 0635 on 18 February 2014. It was dark at the time but the road was well lit, and Brown was equipped with a flashing red red light and a high-visibility jacket. Brown sustained multiple injuries from which he died in hospital later that day. His bike was split in two by the force of the impact and was found on the top of a hedge.
Rollason fled the scene and parked his car with the damage obscured from view. When arrested on 18 February he claimed that he thought he had struck a wheelie bin which had been blown into the road, as he did when speaking to his insurance company the day before, when he also apparently claimed that the collision had occurred on 17 February.
It was noted that Rollason had a previous criminal record, including drink driving and other motoring and theft offences.
One aspect of this case is particularly notable, and that is the prosecution’s pursuit of the dangerous driving charge (Rollason pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at the start of the trial) and—more interestingly—the jury’s guilty verdict for it. This is notable because, from reports, it seems that there was relatively little evidence that explained exactly how the collision occurred: Rollason “chose not to give evidence in his defence and has offered no explanation as to what actually happened, leaving Mr Brown’s family without answers.” This prompts comparison with numerous other cases, notably R v Sinden (2015) where forensic evidence indicated a similar nature of collision, with likely exacerbating factors, in which a not guilty verdict was returned.
From Rollason’s sentence it would appear that the judge considered the offence to be level 2 with aggravating factors (previous offences, failing to stop, and perhaps also consideration of the attempts to cover up the incident).
Given the success of the more severe charge in this case, it is perhaps worth digging further to see whether specific aspects of forensic evidence led the court to determine that this was a level 2 dangerous driving offence, or whether this was largely governed by circumstantial and character evidence.