Pensioner sentenced for causing death of celebrated motorcyclist in Shard bridge crash

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A man has been sentenced for causing the death of a motorcyclist in a road traffic collision in Hambleton.

Antony Whitaker, who was 77 at the time, parked his Volkswagen Touran in an entrance on the A588 Shard Road at around 3pm on June 25, 2022.

He pulled back out onto the road around 40 minutes later, conducting a U-turn across the path of a motorcycle that was being ridden by Mark Butterworth.

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Mr Butterworth, 78, from Blackpool, did not have enough time to avoid the collision.

He was taken to hospital where he sadly later died.

Mark Butterworth was a much-loved husband and highly respected and celebrated motorcycle racer (Credit: Lancashire Police)Mark Butterworth was a much-loved husband and highly respected and celebrated motorcycle racer (Credit: Lancashire Police)
Mark Butterworth was a much-loved husband and highly respected and celebrated motorcycle racer (Credit: Lancashire Police) | Lancashire Police

Whitaker, now 78, of Richmond Road, Barnoldswick, was charged with causing death by careless driving following a comprehensive investigation.

He was sentenced to nine months, suspended for 20 months, after appearing at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday (January 17).

He was also ordered to wear an electronic tag for 26 weeks and disqualified from driving for 18 months. He must take an extended retest.

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Mark was a much-loved husband and highly respected and celebrated motorcycle racer.

Antony  Whitaker was charged with causing death by careless drivingAntony  Whitaker was charged with causing death by careless driving
Antony Whitaker was charged with causing death by careless driving | Contributed

He retired from racing at the age of 74 years having spent most of his life racing competitively across the country including at the Isle of Man TT.

Paying tribute to her husband, his wife Marie said: "Following Mark's death my world has been destroyed.

"I enter the garage of our home and Mark's race bike is still there.

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"Mark's ashes are still in our bedroom and I speak to him every morning and night, but nothing can bring back his infectious sense of humour and kindness which I miss every single day."

Mark Butterworth retired from racing at the age of 74 years having spent most of his life racing competitively across the country (Credit: Lancashire Police)Mark Butterworth retired from racing at the age of 74 years having spent most of his life racing competitively across the country (Credit: Lancashire Police)
Mark Butterworth retired from racing at the age of 74 years having spent most of his life racing competitively across the country (Credit: Lancashire Police) | Lancashire Police

She added: "He had a lifetime passion for motorcycles and started his racing career from an early age, regularly winning races and championships.

"At race meetings he would regularly help other competitors and was also renowned for the race engines he built.

"He had a style of racing that was like poetry in motion - effortless and very smooth and was widely respected by all who knew him.

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"Mark, I love and miss you so much and I hope you are still racing your bike in heaven."

Sgt Matt Davidson, from Lancashire Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said this was a "tragic case in which a well-respected and popular motorcyclist lost his life."

He added: "This incident highlights the need for drivers to take extra care in situations where they may encounter vulnerable road users like motorcyclists.

"On this occasions Antony Whitaker did not do this and it cost Mark Butterworth his life.

"Our thoughts remain with all of Mark's loved ones."