A top Touring Car motor racing driver who knocked down and killed a cyclist while he was talking to his girlfriend on his mobile phone has been jailed for 21 months.
Frank Wrathall, 27, once a successful British Touring Car Championship driver whose career now lies in tatters, was chatting to model Zara Watt for almost eight minutes with one hand on the steering wheel before his van was involved in a collision on a roundabout on May 14 last year.
‘Devoted family man’ Paul Fingleton, 47, had been at a nearby tennis club with his wife Anne, watching his 14-year-old daughter Hannah play tennis, before leaving early to prepare supper for his family, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
Wrathall, from Barnacre, near Garstang, who was driving a Citroen van and towing his racing car, failed to spot Mr Fingleton and cut across him at the roundabout – knocking the chartered accountant off his bicycle and leaving him with severe injuries to his head and spine.
He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and accepted he had been on his mobile phone at the time of the collision at Broughton roundabout on the A6 near Preston.
Jailing him, Judge Mark Brown said: “You had a flagrant disregard for the law which led to the premature and tragic death of Mr Fingleton.”