Mansfield biker was ‘unlawfully killed’ says coroner

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A motorcyclist was unlawfully killed when a sleepy taxi driver ploughed head-on into him, a coroner has ruled.

Father-of-three Mark Buckley, 34, from Mansfield had been on his way to work in Huthwaite when the cab veered across to the wrong side of the road and collided with his Yamaha 125cc on the A611 Derby Road, close to Hollinwell Golf Course.

It happened at around 5.30am on March 30, 2014, and cab driver, Kevin Wiesztort later told police he had only had nine hours’ sleep in three days, despite working long shifts.

He was jailed last year for 45 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

But following an extensive investigation, the inquest into Mr Buckley’s death was finally completed at Nottinghamshire Coroners’ Court on Wednesday after three days of evidence.

The inquest was told how two passengers who had been in Wiesztort’s cab hours before the fatal smash and had even complained to his company, Aaeron Cars in Mansfield, saying he was swerving around the roads, crossed the rumble strips and looked fidgety.

At one point he even took his sweatshirt off, causing him to swerve.

They described Wiesztort’s driving as “erratic”, saying “he was not fit to drive” and that he was a “danger” after he dropped them off at Birmingham Airport.

They were so angry they even rang the company as soon as they got into the airport.

The complaint was brought to the attention of the wife of the firm’s owner, Dennis Lamb, but she failed to act on the information.

Mr Lamb told the inquest he would have stopped Wiesztort from driving if he had known, but said his wife didn’t realise how serious the complaint was.

DC Helen Neaverson told the inquest: “Tragically, no action was taken to bring that to the attention of anyone to intervene.

“If the police had been informed there is a very, very strong chance we could have done something about it.”

The company was later found to have no formal complaints procedure at the time of the accident.

Hayley Barsby, deputy chief executive of Mansfield District Council said the authority would review Mr Lamb’s operator’s licence.

He is already subject to a “strict 12-month warning” until February next year to assess his fitness to hold the licence.

Earlier in proceedings, Mr Buckley’s partner of seven years, Rachael Price, read out two heartfelt statements.

She said: “I would like to say it’s got easier, however, it hasn’t.

“In fact, at times, things have got much harder.

“We put our trust in taxi drivers and expect certain standards to be in place.”