Van driver who caused death of loved St Annes dad escapes jail after pleading guilty

Mr Lee was biking home to St Annes when the accident happened
Mr Lee was biking home to St Annes when the accident happened

A van driver who admitted causing the death of a 'fantastic husband and father' has escaped jail.

Elliot Brown, 27, of School Lane, Freckleton, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving following the death of Jonathan Lee, 36, from St Annes, last year.

Mr Lee, a dad-of-two, was travelling from BrightRED Digital - the company he founded - in Preston to his St Annes home when his bike was hit by Brown's Vauxhall Astra van in Preston New Road, Freckleton, at around 5.30pm on Wednesday, April 26.

The 36-year-old was taken to Royal Preston Hospital but died from his injuries.

Brown was summoned to court after an investigation, with the 27-year-old sentenced on Friday to an 18-month community order, 200 hours' unpaid work, and a tagged curfew for three months.

He was also disqualified from driving for two years.

In a statement, Mr Lee's family said: "Nothing will ever bring Jonathan back – he was one in a million and he will be forever in our hearts and so sadly missed. There are simply no words to describe our grief and anguish - we can only hope that all road users will become more mindful and aware. We must all do what we can to avoid innocent lives being needlessly lost.”

The family also said thanks for 'all the help and support' given over the past 14 months, and for the air ambulance crew, emergency services, witnesses, police, and Crown Prosecution Service.

"Our families and friends have been a source of great comfort and we thank them so much, together with staff at our school and nursery who have given such loving support," the statement added.

"Throughout the 14 months, we have received much helpful and patient assistance from our police family liaison officer Jon Ardron, and others in the team, and this is truly appreciated."

Sgt Steve Hardman, from Lancashire Police, said: “This was a tragic incident and my thoughts remain with Mr Lee and his family at this time.

“It is clear Brown’s driving was careless with his actions leading to Mr Lee’s death.

“This was a challenging investigation and I would like to thank my colleagues for their support and efforts pursuing the case.”

Mr Lee lived in Fairhaven as a youngster, went to Ansdell County Primary, and was later a pupil at Lytham St Annes High School.

After moving to Preston, where he founded web design company BrightRED Media, he settled in St Annes.

He is believed to have been cycling home from work – a route he had taken hundreds of times before – when the accident happened.