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Milkman was just weeks away from retirement when he was knocked off his bike and killed by learner driver who was speeding at 58mph in 40 zone while making a phone call
- Roger Parris, 63, was knocked off his bike in Old Trafford, Manchester, in 2021
- Learner driver Ravi Singh-Ratthore, 22, was speeding at up to 58mph in his car
A milkman just weeks away from retirement was knocked off his bicycle and killed by a learner driver who was speeding at 58mph in a 40 zone while making a phone call, a court heard.
Roger Parris, 63, was cycling to work for his regular early shift at 1am when he was hit from behind by Ravi Singh-Ratthore, 22, who had been following the driver of a BMW in Old Trafford, Manchester, in December 2021.
Mr Parris, a grandfather, keen runner and hiker, suffered from multiple fatal injuries and died less than an hour later at Royal Salford Hospital.
Singh-Ratthore, 22, initially carried on driving but returned to the scene in his VW Golf DT Sport.
Police who investigated the tragedy discovered he only had a provisional driving licence and was making a phone call at the wheel of his car at the time of the impact. It is not known whether he was using his handsfree set.
Roger Parris (pictured), 63, was cycling to to work for his regular early shift at 1am when he was hit from behind by Ravi Singh-Ratthore, 22, who had been following the driver of a BMW in Old Trafford, Manchester, in December 2021
Mr Parris, a grandfather, keen runner and hiker, suffered from multiple fatal injuries and died less than an hour later at Royal Salford Hospital
It further emerged Singh-Ratthore had earlier been ‘interacting’ with the BMW driver before setting off after him – and in the moments before the impact the pair were travelling alongside each on the inside and outside lanes of a bridge.
He failed to spot Mr Parris even though the victim who was wearing a helmet was also sporting bright reflective clothing and had lights fixed on the front and rear of his bike.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Mr Parris’s brother Andrew read a statement as Singh-Ratthore, of Old Trafford, was jailed for 14 months after he admited causing death by careless driving and driving without a full licence.
‘If he had not been killed by this man’s callous and carelessness, my brother would have continued to outlive us all,’ said Mr Parris of Salford, Greater Manchester. ‘Now I am missing a brother who has always been there for me.
‘He made such a difference in so many people’s lives. I will miss the funny messages, weekly chats and daily inspiration he gave me. I will now never be able to reminisce about our childhood, our mother or quirky past with anyone else. I am just full of memories.
‘Never again will he cook his famous Sunday roasts. His fitness and zest for life has been wasted. He will not see his children blossom into their marriages and have children themselves.
Mr Parris’s brother said: ‘If he had not been killed by this man’s callous and carelessness, my brother would have continued to outlive us all’ Pictured: Mr Parris
‘He worked all of his adult life and planned to retire in Spring 2022. The pleasures of retirement were taken from him. We will never be able to hear his Salfordian tones again. The thoughts of him dying alone and in pain will stay with me forever.
‘He was not just a father, but a mentor and a beacon of strength to all. Every day, I grapple with the reality that he will not be there for the small moments and big milestones. The biggest impact of all will be on his 3 months and two-month-old grandchildren, who have been completely denied any memory of having their pops.
‘It just makes us all angry that the man who killed him was driving on a provisional licence. The utter contempt he has for others and the law is disgraceful. It is clear that in his hands a car is a killing machine.’
The incident occurred when Mr Parris was cycling to work in Eccles from his home in Salford.
John Kennerley prosecuting said: ‘He was a milkman who made this journey frequently. He was wearing a helmet, bright reflective clothing and had lights fixed on the front and rear of his bike.
‘As a result, we can be sure that he was clearly visible to road users. Before the incident, he had complained to his long-term partner about the poor state of the cycle path on Centenary Way in Old Trafford.
The accident occurred when Mr Parris was cycling to work in Eccles from his home in Salford.
‘The defendant was driving a Silver Volkswagen Golf and travelling alongside a BMW 1 Series at the time of the incident.
‘Before the incident, the occupant of the BMW had got out of the vehicle and interacted with the defendant when their cars were parked up.
‘The defendant then drove behind the other car in the run-up to the incident. They were passing over the Manchester Ship Canal on Centenary way at around 12:50am. The road was a dual carriageway with a clearly marked 40 mile per hour speed limit.
‘Mr Parris was cycling on the road at the time, rather than the cycle path – perhaps for the reasons we heard earlier.
‘It was still dark at the time of night, but the road was well lit with street lighting. As Mr Parris got towards the end of the bridge, the defendant entered the bridge, travelling in the inside lane whilst the BMW was travelling in the outside lane.
‘The defendant’s speed was calculated to be travelling at between 52 and 58mph. Phone evidence showed that he was using his phone to make a call before the incident.
John Kennerley prosecuting said: ‘He was a milkman who made this journey frequently. He was wearing a helmet, bright reflective clothing and had lights fixed on the front and rear of his bike’ Pictured: Mr Parris
‘This call started at 12:40am and lasted approximately 13 minutes. This means he was on the phone at the relevant time of the incident.
‘He had a handsfree system installed in the car, but we cannot say whether he was using it at the time.
‘When the BMW driver saw Mr Parris, he applied his brakes. The defendant was immediately behind Mr Parris, but he was oblivious and drove straight into the back of him.
‘It was clear that he did not see him because he only applied his brake lights after the collision.
‘The defendant did not stop immediately, but rather went to the end of the bridge, round the roundabout looped back on himself to rejoin the road he was on. Once he got back, he stopped the car and activated his hazard lights.
‘Another road user who was driving by thought she saw rubbish in the road before realising it was a person.
‘She stopped her car, put her hazards on and called 999. The defendant pulled up alongside her and the witness noticed extensive damage to his windscreen. All this time, Mr Parris was unconscious but breathing.
‘Police who attended the scene, asked the defendant to give a breathalyser test, which came back negative. The defendant then produced his provisional licence on request. His car was not displaying L plates.
‘The defendant then explained as to what happened. He said he had been taking an Auntie in the car with him because it was too pricy to get a taxi. He then said he blacked out and was left alone in the vehicle.
‘Mr Parris was taken to Royal Salford Hospital, but due to the severity of his wounds he was pronounced dead at half 1.30am. The defendant was interviewed at Swinton Police station where he gave no comment to all questions put to him.’
Mr Parris’ daughter Heather said in a statement: ‘Losing someone just days before Christmas is a pain that lingers. Every time I hear a bike bell or see a cyclist, I am reminded of that fact.
‘His wisdom and humour has now been replaced by a silence that echoes throughout our lives. I have since had to sell the family home, the sale of which was going to fund his retirement by the sea.
‘The last day I saw my dad was when he drove me in his old 1968 MG to the church on my wedding day. One of the happiest days of my life was also the last time I saw my dad and felt his hand in mine.’
Mr Parris’ daughter Heather said: ‘The last day I saw my dad was when he drove me in his old 1968 MG to the church on my wedding day’
In mitigation for Singh-Ratthore, defence counsel Neil Ronan said: ‘His early guilty plea is a consequence of his remorse and contrition of his actions that morning. This is a defendant that ought not to have been driving at all.
‘He seems a withdrawn and laconic individual, but it is clear from hearing from his mother that he is loved.
‘He volunteers in Stockport, helping children develop through sport. He is also working towards his final qualifications to become a personal trainer.
‘He has always lived with his 80-year-old grandmother and has become her conventional aid.’
‘He has told me that the BMW driver had taken an unhealthy interest in him and was trying to get his attention on the road.
‘That is merely an explanation, not an excuse. He should not have been on the roads in the first place.. He has anxiety, depression and PTSD. He simply did not have the toolkit to pull over or slow down.’
Singh-Ratthore was also handed a three year and seven-month disqualification.
In sentencing, Judge Matthew Corbett-Jones told him: ‘I accept that your remorse is genuine – however, you have no particularly strong mitigation and immediate imprisonment will not have a significant impact on any others. The severe harm was was caused when Mr Parris lost his life.’
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