Farm worker sentenced after cyclist left brain damaged

The farm worker failed to properly secure a load of straw bales
The farm worker failed to properly secure a load of straw bales

A farm worker has been handed a suspended prison sentence after loose straw bales fell on to a cyclist, leaving him permanently brain damaged.

Matthew Shapcott, from Silverton, pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

In 2019, Shapcott loaded a trailer with straw bales and failed to secure them to the trailer, despite having ratchet straps in the vehicle.

While driving along a road in Netherexe, near Exeter, one of the bales fell from the trailer striking a passing male cyclist who suffered significant, life changing injuries as a result.

The 69-year-old man suffered a bleed on the brain and was in a coma for 13 days.

He also sustained numerous other injuries including two fractures to his spine.

According to doctors, he will never recover from the brain damage which has caused partial blindness.

Shapcott was sentenced on Tuesday (12 January) to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 140 hours unpaid work.

Devon and Cornwall Police Motor Patrol Constable, Hamilton-Schaschke said the victim’s quality of life and independence had been 'severely impaired'.

“This devastating incident was all entirely avoidable if Shapcott had simply secured the load," he added.

“Shapcott’s lax attitude to what was a simple but essential safety measure has had a catastrophic impact upon the victim who has been robbed of what should have been a relaxing retirement.

“This incident should serve as a reminder to motorists to ensure they secure their loads, whatever it is they are transporting, wherever they are going, when travelling on public roads, so tragedies such as this are avoided.”