Two men have been jailed after a motorcyclist died following a collision in Cockerham.
Martin Sweeney (pictured left), 46 and Jamie Wilding (pictured right), 40, were sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Monday (October 18) after the death of John Rhodes, 42, from Fleetwood.
Police had been called around 3.45pm on October 20, 2018, to reports of a collision on Lancaster Road (A588) between the villages of Pilling and Cockerham.
A motorcyclist, later identified as John Rhodes, had been thrown from his bike, suffering serious injuries. He sadly died a day later at Royal Preston Hospital.
Officers launched an investigation following the collision and found all three men had been riding in company with each other. The ride started from Thornton with the group travelling towards Lancaster before the collision took place.
A number of witnesses were spoken to by officers at the scene where they were told key evidence had been tampered with prior to police arrival which had potentially been removed.
Wilding left before police arrived, with Sweeney spoken to at the scene, where he suggested no one else was involved.
Sweeney was arrested with Wilding later arrested in the early hours of October 21.
Both defendants provided false accounts throughout police interaction with neither making any admissions until the matter proceeded to court.
As part of police enquiries, officers seized Wilding’s mobile phone. It was examined and found to show a recording of the collision captured from a camera attached to Sweeney’s bike.
This confirmed at least one camera was attached to his vehicle, with it removed before police arrived.
The footage, together with Mr Rhodes’ phone, was taken by Wilding from the scene to his home address, where the footage was then uploaded by Wilding and later recovered by officers.
It showed Sweeney’s bike reaching speeds of 140mph, with Wilding’s bike further ahead in the carriageway. Mr Rhodes then attempted to overtake Sweeney, losing control of his motorbike and leaving the road, colliding with a grass verge, before coming to stop in a field.
The speed limit for the road was 60mph.
Both men were later charged and initially pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. However, both later entered guilty pleas at different stages to perverting the course of justice.
Sweeney, of Eversleigh Avenue, Thornton, was given six months imprisonment for dangerous driving and 27 months imprisonment for perverting the course of justice to run consecutively. He was disqualified from driving for four years and three months. He is required to take an extended re-test.
Wilding, of Goldsboro Avenue, Blackpool, was given six months imprisonment for dangerous driving and 21 months imprisonment for perverting the course of justice to run consecutively. He was disqualified from driving for four years and 11 months. He is also required to take an extended re-test.
In addition to this the police were given authority for a forfeiture order for both motorcycles to be destroyed at the conclusion of the investigation.
Sgt Steve Hardman, of Lancashire Police’s Tactical Operations, said: “Although there was no collision between the three motorcyclists, it is clear all three were riding together and at grossly excessive speeds.
“Unfortunately Mr Rhodes lost control of his motorcycle on the approach to a right hand bend, leaving the carriageway to the nearside and sustained catastrophic injuries that he tragically died from the following day.
“Witnesses describe the speed as like on a racetrack or travelling like a jet.
“Sweeney and Wilding were clearly intent on covering their tracks and attempting to dispose of evidence vital to the police investigation.
“Despite their friend being critically injured in the field, witness accounts revealed both men seemed intent on removing evidence due to their grossly excessive speeds at the time of the collision. The trial judge described their actions as ‘appalling’.
“Despite being challenged both at the scene and in subsequent interviews they denied the existence of any footage of the collision and did not accept the manner of their riding to be dangerous.
“Both men later pleaded guilty at court and we hope they are able to use this time to reflect on the gravity of their actions.
“Our thoughts remain with Mr Rhodes’ family and friends at this sad and difficult time.”