‘Horrible chain of events’ killed Bognor biker

Dawn Devine has been banned from driving for 12 months
Dawn Devine has been banned from driving for 12 months

‘A HORRIBLE’ chain of events’ led to the death of a Bognor motorcyclist at a junction in Climping, a court has heard.

Robert Giacopazzi ‘paid the ultimate price’ when he was fatally injured in a road collision on the A259 between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton on August 25, 2013.

Robert 'Jacko' Giacopazzi, who owned the Prince of Wales in Bognor Regis and died on August 25, 2013

Robert 'Jacko' Giacopazzi, who owned the Prince of Wales in Bognor Regis and died on August 25, 2013

Dawn Devine, 55, of Wish Field Drive, Felpham, is being tried for causing his death by careless driving, a charge she denies.

Chichester Crown court today heard that Mrs Devine was pulling out of the junction, coming from the B2233 Yapton Road and turning right onto the A259 Crookthorn Lane, when the collision took place. Mr Giacopazzi, 48, a landlord of the Prince of Wales in Bognor, died at the scene.

Philip Crank was driving his white Vauxhall Vivaro van immediately behind Mrs Devine’s maroon Vauxhall Corsa when the accident took place.

Mr Crank told the court: “Unfortunately I did see a motorcycle because I was in an elevated position (in the van) so I could see over the foliage and signage and I saw the motorcycle coming towards the junction and in front of me I saw the vehicle (Mrs Devine’s) move.

“I could see what was going to happen. I could see a collision was going to be inevitable.”

He added: “I am a motorcyclist and I would call this a SMIDSY, which means ‘sorry mate I didn’t see you’”

He added: “I am convinced she didn’t see him.”

Mr Crank said he thought that a number of factors had contributed to Mr Giacopazzi’s death, including low hanging trees and foliage which he said made visibility to the right of the junction, which sweeps round to the right, difficult.

He said he thought an A-board belonging to the nearby public house, the Oystercatcher, also blocked some of the view, saying ‘in my opinion a slight person sitting in a small car, it’s going to be very difficult for a person to see a motorbike coming around that bend’.

As he described the collision there were tears from a packed gallery while Mrs Devine was visibly shaking in the dock.

Mr Crank said: “As a motorcyclist I know they can go pretty quick but this motorcyclist (Mr Giacopazzi) wasn’t going any speed. In my opinion I believe this rider is familiar with this junction.”

He described seeing Mr Giacopazzi go into a skid when he attempted to brake, leave his bike and make contact with the rear tyre of Mrs Devine’s car.

“It wasn’t just an accident it was a bloody tragedy,” Mr Crank said. “It didn’t happen at high speed, if it had happened differently he might have just...suffered a broken arm.

“It was a horrible chain of events and sadly someone paid the ultimate price which I’m sorry about.”

Mr Crank phoned 999 and waited with Mr Giacopazzi before the emergency services arrived, at which point he comforted Mrs Devine, who he said was ‘totally distraught’.

The jury also heard from Trevor North, the driver of a silver Ford Ranger pickup, who was travelling behind Mr Giacopazzi, having been overtaken by the rider some time before the collision before the speed limit reduced from 50mph to 40mph.

A statement was also read from PC Genna White, who attended the collision and conducted an eye test at the scene, which Mrs Devine passed ‘with no issues’.

Following her arrest, a police interview was conducted with Mrs Devine on the same day.

Reading out Mrs Devine’s statement, Edward Hand, prosecuting, said: “I looked right and then left and there was a big gap. I looked right again and pulled out carefully and then he was just there.

She added: “I was just pulling out and I saw him and then bang, we’d hit.”

The trial continues.