A MAN has been handed a suspended prison sentence following a crash that killed a horserider.

Hugh Boyle, 52, of Fox Hatch, in Kelvedon Hatch, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday, February 2.

He was also ordered to complete 300 hours of community service and banned from driving for three years.

Boyle admitted causing death by careless driving following the fatal crash in Ashwells Road, Pilgrims Hatch, on January 16 last year, which killed Jane Mitchinson, 63, from Brentwood.

Boyle was driving a Toyota van along Ashwells Road when he was in collision with two horses being ridden along the road. Mrs Mitchinson was thrown from her horse and died instantly at the scene.

The other rider, a man, was also thrown from his horse but escaped without serious injuries. Both horses died as a result of the impact.

The police investigation showed Mr Boyle did not adjust his driving sufficiently to compensate for the bright sunlight at the time, which resulted in his failure to see the two horses in the road.

Insp Keith Whiting, senior investigating officer, said: “This case shows drivers must always have the highest level of concentration.

“The consequences of not taking care are massive.

“Our thoughts are with Mrs Mitchinson’s family who live with her loss and I’m sure Mr Boyle lives with the thought of taking a person’s life.”