A DRIVER who was texting his grandmother when he “wiped out” a beloved husband travelling to work on his motorcycle has been jailed for three years.
Jailing Stephen Rawlinson, Judge Jonathan Rose told him he was distracted by the message and said: “Even the time to text eight characters is the time it takes to kill a man.”
The father-of-three was convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court of causing the death by dangerous driving of Cleckheaton Rugby Club stalwart Nigel Earnshaw after he failed to see him on a roundabout at 10.30pm on September 5 last year.
Rawlinson, 26, of Bradford, was seen driving his Ford Focus at speed in Saltaire, seconds before it struck Mr Earnshaw’s Honda 125cc motorbike.
He said he could not understand how he failed to see the motorcycle and said he thought the noise he had heard when he hit Mr Earnshaw was children throwing stones at his car.
During the trial, prosecutor Richard Clews said police examination of Rawlinson’s mobile phone showed he had sent a text message at 10.28pm telling his grandmother he would be with her shortly.
Rawlinson denied using his phone when he was driving.
Mr Earnshaw, 58, a rugby enthusiast who was driving to work a night shift at Hallmark Cards in Bradford, died in hospital 18 days later. He suffered a fractured ankle and developed a fatal deep vein thrombosis.
He and his wife, Susan, from Keighley, were teenage sweethearts and had been married for 38 years.
The stalwart of Cleckheaton Rugby Club served as Grand Master of the Grand Society Order of the Oddfellows for two years and worked for good causes throughout his life.
Judge Rose said Mrs Earnshaw had been deprived of the friend, companion and breadwinner she expected to spend her latter years with.
He told Rawlinson: “There was an arrogance in your driving that night. You just wiped out the machine and the man who was upon it.”
After the sentencing, the chairman of Cleckheaton Rugby Club, Neil Gillan, where Mr Earnshaw was on the committee, said: “We are still greatly saddened by the tragic loss of Nigel. He put loads of effort and time into the club in support of local sport.
“The club is glad to see justice has been done but the punishment will not bring Nigel back.
“A few seconds of careless actions stole Nigel away from us and his family. People should realise that texting while driving is life-threatening.”