Biker caught on CCTV doing wheelies at 100mph before pair died in crash, court hears

Solicitor Helen Slater, 37, and her builder husband Dean, 40, died in August 2010 after their motorbike was in collision with a car

Dean and Helen Slater

Five motorcyclists have finally been sentenced by a judge – almost three years after the deaths of a Huddersfield woman and her husband.

Solicitor Helen Slater, 37, and her builder husband Dean, 40, died in August 2010 after their motorbike was in collision with a car on the A64 near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire.

Her funeral was held at Huddersfield Crematorium and a collection was held for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Mrs Slater, who was brought up in Huddersfield and still has family in the town, had been riding pillion behind her husband as a group of friends travelled from Bingley to a bikers’ cafe near Sherburn-in-Elmet.

But prosecutor Andrew Dallas told Bradford Crown Court how the bikers were caught on CCTV cameras along the 32-mile route travelling in excess of the speed limits and two of the group were filmed doing high-speed wheelies.

Speeds averaged 117mph.

Near to Boston Spa 31-year-old Paul Wheater, of Cullingworth, was seen doing a wheelie at about 100mph while another rider Dax Lerman, 31, who also lives in Cullingworth, was performing a similar manoeuvre at about 82mph.

Mr Dallas said the bikers got split up as they rode through Tadcaster and it was as the Slaters went round a left hand bend that Mr Slater lost control and collided with an on-coming car.

In the aftermath of the fatal collision a major police investigation was started and charges of causing death by dangerous driving were alleged against Wheater, Lerman and three other riders – 34-year-old Ian Townson, of Leafield Crescent, Eccleshill, Bradford, David Hastings, 39, of Clough Field, Keighley, and 29-year-old Michael Hannon, of Hainworth, Keighley.

But in December 2011 a judge dismissed the charges against all five riders and a new legal process began with charges of dangerous driving being pursued.

Wheater and Lerman pleaded guilty to the dangerous driving allegation and earlier this year the prosecution accepted guilty pleas to an alternative charge of driving without due care and attention in relation to the other three bikers.

But during the fatal accident inquiry officers also seized a DVD from Wheater’s home which showed footage of himself and another rider doing wheelies on roads around Skipton and Threshfield in North Yorkshire.

Mr Dallas said a camera was attached to Wheater’s machine and it showed him doing a total of 15 wheelies on the public roads.

Another biker Wayne Robson, 44, of Monkman’s Wharf, Silsden, was caught on the footage doing one wheelie and both men later admitted further charges of dangerous driving in relation to the footage.

Wheater was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work after he admitted two separate charges of dangerous driving.

He was also banned from driving for a year and ordered to take an extended driving test.

His barrister Richard Wright said the simply reality was that he lost a couple who were his closest friends in August 2010 and whatever the boundaries of the criminal law the sadness and sense of tragedy would never leave him.

Robson was also given a 12-month community order in respect of the dangerous driving with Wheater in 2009.

He will have to do 140 hours unpaid work and take an extended driving test when his 12-month disqualification ends.

Lerman was also given a 12-month community order as well as a driving ban.

Hannon, Hastings and Townson were each fined £350 with six points on their licences for the offence of careless driving.

 

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