Lancashire Constabulary Logo

Pensioner sentenced for causing death of celebrated motorcyclist

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

A man has today been sentenced for causing the death of a motorcyclist in a road traffic collision in Hambleton after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

At around 3pm on 25th of June 2022, Antony Whitaker, who was 77 at the time, parked his Volkswagen Touran in an entrance on the A588 Shard Road near to Shard Bridge. Approximately 40 minutes later, he pulled back out onto the road conducting almost a U-turn across the path of a motorcycle, ridden by 78-year-old Mark Butterworth, who had no chance to avoid a collision. 

Mark Butterworth (pictured) was taken to hospital where he sadly died.

Following a comprehensive investigation, Antony Whitaker, now 78, of Richmond Road, Barnoldswick, was charged with causing death by careless driving. He appeared today (Wednesday 17th January 2024) at Preston Crown Court where he was sentenced to nine months, which was suspended for 20 months. He will also have to wear an electronic tag for 26 weeks. He was disqualified from driving for 18 months, and must take an extended retest. 

Mark was a much-loved husband and highly respected and celebrated motorcycle racer. He retired from racing at the age of 74 years having spent most of his life racing competitively across the country including at the Isle of Man TT. 

Paying tribute to her husband, his wife Marie said: “Following Mark's death my world has been destroyed. I enter the garage of our home and Mark's race bike is still there. Mark's ashes are still in our bedroom and I speak to him every morning and night. But nothing can bring back his infectious sense of humour and kindness which I miss every single day. 

"He had a lifetime passion for motorcycles and started his racing career from an early age, regularly winning races and championships. At race meetings he would regularly help other competitors and was also renown for the race engines he built. He had a style of racing that was like poetry in motion - effortless and very smooth and was widely respected by all who knew him.

“Mark, I love and miss you so much and I hope you are still racing your bike in heaven.”

Sgt Matt Davidson, from our Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was a tragic case in which a well-respected and popular motorcyclist lost his life. This incident highlights the need for drivers to take extra care in situations where they may encounter vulnerable road users like motorcyclists. On this occasions Antony Whitaker did not do this and it cost Mark Butterworth his life. Our thoughts remain with all of Mark’s loved ones.”