Driver apologises to grieving family

A woman who knocked down and killed a Harrogate motorcyclist last year has written a letter apologising to his family.

Friday, 11th September 2015, 9:56 am
Simon Parsons with girlfriend Jenny Brown

Simon Parsons was 25 when he died after a crash in February 2014. His mother, Lynn Parsons from Knaresborough said the apology from Linda Slater, 67, who was found not guilty of careless driving at York Crown Court, went some way to help the family, but they were distraught at having to live the rest of their lives without Simon.

Mrs Parsons said: “We didn’t ever want her locking up or punishing, saying sorry was what we wanted.

“It has gone a small way with us, but this is the rest of our lives without him. There is a big space in our family.”

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Robert Parsons (left) with brother Simon Parsons who died after a motorbiek crash

Last week a jury at York Crown Court heard that Mrs Slater from Merseyside, had been diverted after a previous accident on the A59 and was turning her Honda CRV in the road when she knocked the keen motorcyclist off his Triumph Daytona at Felliscliffe, near Pateley Bridge at around 5pm on February 9 last year.

Mrs Slater told the court she had looked properly but the motorbike “suddenly loomed” in front of her.

The jury believed Mrs Slater’s account that she was paying due attention at the time of the accident and could not prevent the collision and following the three-day trial, which ended on Thursday August 27, the jury found the church-going grandmother not guilty by unanimous verdict.

Simon, a former King James’s School pupil who played football for the Burton Leonard and Hampsthwaite on weekends, died from his injuries.

Simon and his girlfriend Jenny Brown, a ward clerk at Harrogate District Hospital, had been planning their future together and she was left heartbroken by his death.

She said: “My life will never be the same again.

“He was my whole world, we had such a loving, adventurous relationship, always out on the bike be it a group ride out to Hawes or two weeks travelling France with nothing but the bike, a one way ferry ticket and a tent.

“We lived for the moment and I have so many amazing memories that I will cherish forever.”

Simon worked for Santander in Ripon and had recently been given a promotion. He was due to start his new role at the Harrogate branch the day after the crash.

His father, Keith Parson said: “He was more loved than we ever imagined, he was planning a life with Jenny, he was due to start a new job and we were over the moon for him.

“He loved his motorbike, it was everything to him.”

Mrs Parson added: “We had so many messages of condolences from all of his friends and his old school friends and it was lovely to hear from people he knew.”

Hundreds of people turned out for Mr Parsons’ funeral at the United Reform Church in Knaresborough, where he lived before moving to Harrogate. Before the service, the family asked for donations to the Air Ambulance in lieu of flowers because it was one of Mr Parsons’ favourite charities. The appeal raised over £3,000.

His father Keith Parsons said: “Simon was loved by everybody. He always had a wink and a smile for the clients at Santander.”

The fun-loving motorcyclist - also worked part-time at the Swan On The Stray pub in Harrogate.

He was very close friends with his younger brother Robert who is now 24-years-old.

Mr Parson said: “We were a happy family of four and then this happened.

“We thought we would have him around forever, we thought whatever the future held he would be there.”

Robert is now looking at travelling to Australia, to spend a few months living and working in the country which was always one of his brother’s dreams.

Mrs Parson added: “Losing a son like this at 25, nothing will compare to this, for him to be taken so suddenly, I am still struggling to accept it.”

After the hearing, Mr Parsons’ heartbroken friends and family described him as a “universally-popular” young man who excelled at sport, loved motorcycling. Plans are underway for a memorial game at Harrogate Town’s Wetherby Road ground.