Belfast Telegraph

Suspended term for serial speeder who killed cyclist McCall

By Michael Donnelly

A driver who killed top Irish road racing cyclist David McCall in a horror road smash has walked free from court after receiving a suspended prison sentence.

Michael Gerard Croome was speeding to catch a flight from Belfast International Airport when he knocked Mr McCall off his bike during a cycle race.

Croome initially did not stop, but returned a short time later to the scene of the crash.

At Antrim Crown Court yesterday Croome, who was caught speeding on another two occasions after the fatal accident, received an 18-month suspended sentence for causing death by careless driving.

In 2010 the 29-year-old had been jailed for five years for causing Mr McCall’s death by dangerous driving, but his conviction by a jury was overturned on appeal and he was released from jail after serving 10 months. He was then re-charged with a lesser offence.

Croome’s 46-year-old victim was a Commonwealth Games medallist who had represented Ireland and Northern Ireland at international competitions. Mr McCall was racing with a group of cyclists along the Belfast Road at Nutts Corner on August 12, 2008 when he was struck by Croome.

Judge Corinne Philpott described Mr McCall as “a popular family man in the prime of his life”.

She accepted the accident had been caused by a dog running out into Mr McCall’s path but said it may have been avoided if Croome had given himself more room when passing the racing cyclists.

Judge Philpott said that Croome had not prepared for the unexpected, and added that she did not know why it had taken him so long to accept his guilt.

Earlier the judge had told Croome he was someone who drives “in a manner to suit yourself, and other road users have to take actions to avoid you”.

“There is a pattern ... you do not pay sufficient attention to the speed limit,” she added.

Croome, a former call centre worker from Prior Wharf, Chester, but who had an address on Belfast's Cliftonville Road at the time of the crash, was also banned from driving for three years.

Mr McCall’s death sent shockwaves through the international cycling community and tributes were paid to him from fellow sportsmen across the world.

A rider of renown in Ireland and beyond

By Deborah McAleese

David McCall was one of Northern Ireland's best known competitive cyclists.

The 46-year-old Lisburn man had been cycling from the age of 14 and friends said that few in Ireland were as highly skilled as he was. Mr McCall represented both Northern Ireland and Ireland on the world stage.

A Commonwealth Games medallist, who had ridden three times at the Games, he also had a long list of honours in Europe and Ireland.

The father-of-two qualified as a level three coach and commissaire and — being passionate about safety on the roads — he launched the motorcycle marshal training scheme.

He also cycled the length of Ireland in less than 24 hours to raise money for charity, whilst holding down a Civil Service post.

Mr McCall was a member of the Maryland Wheelers club, Lisburn. The club has established a charitable foundation in his name to support cycling in Ulster.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph