Paul Watson, a 39-year-old resident of Church Lane, Normanton, has been handed a seven and a half-year prison sentence and a 10-year driving ban by Leeds Crown Court today (23 June). Watson pleaded guilty to charges of causing death by dangerous driving, driving while under the influence of alcohol, and driving while exceeding the specified drug limit. The court found him responsible for the death of Terrance Keye, a 53-year-old cyclist who tragically lost his life on Friday, 10 February.

The fatal incident occurred as Terrance Keye was commuting home from work along Wakefield Road, Normanton. Watson, driving a Ford Transit Connect van, struck Keye with a devastating impact, estimated to be at a speed of 55 miles per hour—nearly twice the legal speed limit. CCTV footage revealed Watson’s reckless behaviour before the collision, including driving on the wrong side of the road and at excessive speeds.

Detective Constable Simon Marshall, a member of the Major Collision Enquiry Team, stated, “Terrance was cycling home that evening, wearing reflective clothing and utilising lights on his bike. He did everything right. Watson, on the other hand, did everything wrong. He made the conscious decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and he drove in a dangerous manner. Terrance was denied the ability to make any choices.”

In a heart-wrenching Victim Personal Statement, Terrance’s mother expressed her anguish, stating, “On the night of 10 February, two police officers came to my door to tell me that my only son, Terry, had been killed. That night, my life stopped. I will never hear his key in my door again, or hear him say, ‘Mother, it’s only me.’ No one can comprehend the devastation and grief that consumes me every minute, every hour, of every day and night.”

Sergeant Mick Kilburn, also a member of the Major Collision Enquiry Team, highlighted the significance of Watson’s sentencing under the new guidelines implemented in June 2022. He acknowledged that Watson had no prior criminal record and had previously been of good character. Kilburn welcomed the lengthy prison term, hoping that it would serve as a stern message that dangerous driving, particularly under the influence of alcohol or drugs, would be met with severe consequences.

Kilburn took the opportunity to express gratitude to the officers involved in the case, commending their tireless efforts in swiftly removing Watson from posing further danger to the public. Their dedication resulted in the imprisonment of a selfish and hazardous driver for a significant period of time.

He concluded his statement by paying tribute to Terrance’s grieving family, emphasising that their thoughts remained with them during this difficult time. Kilburn hoped that the court’s decision would bring some closure to the family, reminding everyone that this tragic incident could have been prevented.

The sentencing of Paul Watson marks a milestone in West Yorkshire, being the first case to be dealt with under the new sentencing guidelines. It reinforces the gravity of the justice system’s approach to combatting dangerous and impaired driving, aiming to prevent further avoidable tragedies on the roads.