The anguish of a Huddersfield family was revealed as a former soldier was jailed for causing the death by dangerous driving of cyclist John Radford.

He was badly injured and died many months later following a road rage incident in New Mill.

Michael Gledhill was jailed for four years and eight months and Leeds Crown Court heard the harrowing details of the suffering of Mr Radford’s family.

The veteran cyclist spent 15 months either in Leeds General Infirmary or a convalescent home in York before his death.

Judge Christopher Batty said Mr Radford could not speak, was not able to recognise his wife or two daughters and everything had to be done to care for him.

Because of the circumstances, the family also had significant delay not being able “to lay him to rest” after his death while medical reports were prepared.

Emma Boyes and her injured dad John Radford, now in a rehab centre in York
Emma Boyes and her injured dad John Radford, now in a rehab centre in York

Gledhill stood trial in October 2014 and was initially convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving to Mr Radford on July 31, 2013, when he knocked him off his bike in Huddersfield Road, New Mill, after they had exchanged words.

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But before he could be sentenced on that charge Mr Radford, who had been in a persistent vegetative state since the incident, died on November 5, 2014.

A decision was then made to charge Gledhill with the more serious charge of causing his death which he eventually admitted in November last year.

Sentencing Gledhill the judge said his “moment of rage” towards the cyclist had devastating consequences for his family.

Mr Radford, then 69, a keen cyclist for more than 50 years had just ridden through the village of New Mill on the A616 when Gledhill drove up behind him with his pregnant girlfriend and his father in the car.

Judge Batty said Gledhill “clearly took exception to Mr Radford’s position in the road.”

He sounded his horn and pulled alongside him “and there then ensued an argument between you and Mr Radford. “

John Radford
John Radford

The judge said the evidence at trial indicated both men exchanged abuse as they continued moving along the road for some metres. “One independent observer driving in the opposite direction described what he saw as ‘cat and mouse’ between the two of you.”

Another witness watching from a window nearby saw Mr Radford then head off away from the car on his bike with Gledhill then following in his direction.

Sam Andrews prosecuting told the court it was the crown’s case the car was driven with the intent to frighten Mr Radford or “shake him up”.

Gledhill had parked up and gone to assist him but Mr Radford never recovered from his injuries.

The judge said he accepted that delays had also added to the stress for Gledhill, who had now been diagnosed as suffering severe depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorder from his military service in Afghanistan.

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But he said there had to be a significant prison sentence.

“This offence was in my view motivated by rage, events were started by you, you were clearly very angry at Mr Radford’s position in in the road. I accept there was some contribution by Mr Radford to the extent he too lost his temper so contributed to the argument that followed.”

The judge said he did not find Mr Radford was riding in anything other than the appropriate fashion. After the argument he was aware of his age and vulnerability “what you did was deliberate, you drove your car towards him whether to frighten him or not your temper caused you to act in a deliberate manner and the consequences were catastrophic.

A sprayed white bike placed near the scene of an accident in Huddersfield Road, New Mill, in which cyclist John Radford suffered severe brain damage
A sprayed white bike placed near the scene of an accident in Huddersfield Road, New Mill, in which cyclist John Radford suffered severe brain damage

“Mrs Radford has lost her husband, her best friend for many years, his daughters have lost their father and grandchildren their grandfather, all this after having spent the period of some 16 months watching they man they knew so full of life in a persistent vegetative state, unable to communicate with them.

“Their lives were turned upside down by your moment of rage.”

Gledhill, 24 of Bramble Bank, Holmfirth, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving was also disqualified from driving for four years.

Nicholas Johnson representing him told the court a psychological report showed he was likely to have suffered PTSD from his army service in Afghanistan which made him more impatient and angry on is return to the UK. He was already having counselling for anger management prior to the incident and although he still not recall having made any contact with the bike that day, felt genuine remorse about what had happened.

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The jail sentence would also impact on his two young children and his fiancée who is again pregnant.

Tests showed flakes of paint from the bumper of the Vauxhall Corsa driven at the time by Gledhill were in a spoke cap from the bike proving contact.

Gledhill, who at the time was about to leave the army as a Lance Corporal in the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, denied at trial he had felt road rage.

Det Con Paul Morrison said after the case: “Gledhill’s dangerous driving on that day in July 2013 left John Radford with serious injuries that he never recovered from. More than a year after the collision he sadly passed away.”

The last two and a half years have understandably been an extremely difficult time for his family and we hope that the conclusion of the court process and the custodial sentence now handed to Gledhill for causing death by dangerous driving can help provide some closure for them.”