Mother's devastation after son killed in crash 'one minute from home'

Lloyd McMurtary leaving Norwich Magistrates Court after admitting failing to stop after a fatal crash in September last year.

Lloyd McMurtary leaving Norwich Magistrates Court after admitting failing to stop after a fatal crash in September last year. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

A man who failed to stop after a crash in which a teenage cyclist was killed had told police officers who stopped his damaged car that he had hit a deer, a court has heard.

Emergency services were called following reports of a crash involving a bike and a Mitsubushi Warrior on the A134 at Northwold.

The junction on the A134 at Northwold, where a 17-year-old cyclist died after a collision Picture:

The junction on the A134 at Northwold, where a 17-year-old cyclist died after a collision Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

The cyclist, a 17-year-old later identified as Oscar Seaman, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash at the crossroads with Northwold Road and Methwold Road.

Norwich Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday how Lloyd McMurtary, the driver of the Mitsubushi, had "no time to react" or avoid Mr Seaman who had pulled out in front of him and died at the scene.

But Ashley Petchey, prosecuting, said McMurtary "panicked" and drove away from the scene before being stopped by police nearby after they saw the damage to his vehicle.

McMurtary told officers he had “hit a deer” stating nothing about the crash, although his details were taken.

When the police officers came across the crash, McMurtary's details were passed to the control room and he was located where he worked near Snetterton while “attempting to repair his vehicle”.

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

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The defendant, who at the time had no licence, was arrested and later told police he “panicked” but could not explain why he drove away.

McMurtary, of Redcastle Road, Thetford, appeared at court on Tuesday, February 23, when he pleaded guilty to failing to stop after the crash which happened at about 9pm on September 3 last year.

He also admitted driving otherwise in accordance with a licence and having no insurance.

The court heard a victim impact statement from Mr Seaman's mother Bethany who described her son as being “the funny one of the family” as well as being an energetic character who “always made me smile”.

Mr Seaman had been studying carpentry and brick laying at the College of West Anglia and also worked at McDonald’s at Barton Mills.

The mother of four said her world was “devastated” on September 3 last year when her son was killed while cycling back from his girlfriend’s.

Mrs Seaman had tried to call her son but got no answer and got into her car to see if she could find him.

She heard the sirens and saw the blue lights before coming across the scene, stating it was "an image that will stay with me forever”.

Mrs Seaman said: “He died one minute away from home, and the safety of his family”.

The victim's mother said “our world has been destroyed” and insisted their lives will always be underpinned by sadness.

She said: “We had a perfect life, perfect family but now there will always be a void.”

The family’s suffering has been worsened by the actions of McMurtary following the crash.

She said: “The driver didn’t stop to help him. He left my 17-year-old boy there to die. He was too busy being selfish and trying to save himself.”

On finding out McMurtary had tried to “cover up his part in it” Mrs Seaman said he showed her son “no compassion or humanity”.

She added: "As his mother my duty was to protect him from harm. I failed him and will always feel guilty for that.”

Debbie Reynolds, mitigating, said McMurtary would want her to say how sorry he was to the family for the distress he had caused.

She said he fully accepted responsibility for what he did and offered his heartfelt apology to them but described what happened as a “tragic accident” and insisted he was “not to blame for the accident or subsequent fatality”.

She said his fault was failing to stop after the accident after he panicked.

Chair of the bench of magistrates Roger Jackson, offered his condolences to the family, before adjourning the case until March 26 for sentence to allow for reports to be carried out.

He said all options, including custody, were open.

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