A NURSE who caused the death of a popular grandfather by driving into his path as he was riding his motorbike tried to suggest that he had been racing in a bid to avoid responsibility.
Wayne Murray was killed when Chenerusai Makumbe pulled in front of him as he was out on a ride with his brother on Doncaster Road, Ackworth, near Pontefract.
After the fatal collision Makumbe claimed to police she had stopped to let them pass.
Makumbe, a nurse based a Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, said Mr Murray and his brother John had been travelling faster than the 50mph speed limit and may have been racing each other.
The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving on the day she was due to stand trial.
Leeds Crown Court heard Mr Murray’s family’s grief was made worse by Makumbe’s original decision to plead not guilty and her attempts to minimise responsibility for her “foolish actions.”
Makumbe was made the subject of a 12 month community order and told to do 200 hours paid work. She was also disqualified from driving for three years.
The court heard Makumbe, of Oakwell Road, Pontefract, is currently studying for a masters degree in public health at Leeds University.
Judge Peter Benson said: “There is no suggestion in my mind that Mr Murray was in any way responsible. The responsibility for this dreadful incident falls upon the shoulders of the defendant. It was a misjudgment of a catastrophic sort.”
Andrew Kershaw, prosecuting, said the incident happened shortly after Makumbe had picked her husband up from Croft House, where he worked as a carer, around 9.15pm on August 21 2013.
Mr Kershaw said her husband had made some “intimate banter” towards her before she drove her Smart car out of the driveway into the path of Mr Murray and his brother.
Mr Murray was propelled forward and suffered multiple injuries. His brother managed to swerve out of the way to avoid injury.
The court heard John Murray stayed with his brother as he was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where surgeons battled for seven hours to try to save his life.
More than 500 people attended the father-of-two’s funeral in South Elmsall where he was a popular figure in the community.
Richard Clews, mitigating, said Makumbe could not clearly recollect what had happened and had to rely on reconstruction evidence before accepting responsibility.
He added: “The defendant will be pained to know that the situation has created extra grief. The first thing that has to be acknowledged is that it is a desperate tragedy for everyone connected with the deceased.”
Mr Clews handed the court a letter of reference from Makumbe’s methodist minister who described how she preyed for Mr Murray and his relatives after the incident.