Eyemouth man cleared of causing death of motorcyclist

A HOTEL manager has been cleared of causing the death of a motorcyclist following a fatal accident on the A1.

Michael Giacopazzi, 48, was instead convicted of careless driving and causing the collision between his Land Rover Freelander and 33-year-old biker James Marlow who was heading north back to his home in Edinburgh.

As a result of the crash at the Ayton junction in Berwickshire on November 16, 2010, both vehicles were damaged and Mr Marlow came to rest on the carriageway.

Following an eight day trial at Jedburgh Sheriff Court, the jury deleted part of the charge which stated he had caused the death of the IT worker and instead convicted the father-of-two of careless driving driving by a majority verdict.

Sheriff Donald Corke explained that his sentence had nothing to do with Mr Marlow and said he did not see the point in banning Giacopazzi from driving pointing out his clean 30 year driving record.

He imposed a fine of £600 and endorsed his driving licence with six penalty points.

Sheriff Corke said:”Following the verdict of the jury, you have been cleared of causing the death of Mr Marlow.

“I would like to express my sympathy to his family.

“The sentence has nothing to do with his death.

“I have got to deal with it as a normal Section Three offence which is something you see day in and day out but not in these circumstances.

“This was a moment of carelessness in very difficult conditions.

“I take into account you have a clean record and have been under considerable strain defending yourself against the allegation of causing the death of Mr Marlow.”

The trial heard how Mr Marlow thrown from his bike following the collision with the Land Rover Freelander on the A1 and was then runover by another car as he lay on the road.

He suffered severe injuries from which he died after being struck twice by vehicles at the Ayton junction.

The jury watched a DVD of a police interview in which Giacopazzi told how he had just finished his shift at the Ship Hotel in Eyemouth, Berwickshire, and was heading home at around 5p.m.

as darkness fell.

He explained how he saw the light of a motorcycle approaching as he moved into the box junction to prepare to turn right across the carriageway at the Ayton junction on the A1.

The accused said he stopped his vehicle but when he could not see the light he assumed the motorcycle had turned off on the slip-road.

But the court heard that when he moved off his Land Rover Freelander was struck by the motorcycle.

Giacopazzi told the police interview that he stopped his vehicle but was unable to stop another car running over Mr Marlow as he lay on the northbound carriageway.

Other witnesses have told the trial how they saw Giacopazzi - who has been driving for 30 years with no accidents - standing in the middle of the northbound carriageway trying to stop other vehicles.

The court heard that the victim had only passed his motorcycle test two months previously.

But traffic police officer Neil Wilson said he had been informed that Mr Marlow had ridden a lot of off-road bikes in New Zealand in the past and “was not a novice.”

Giacopazzi of High Street, Eyemouth, had denied causing the death of Mr Marlow by careless driving.

The family of Mr Marlow - who had a fiancee and a young son - declined to comment on the verdict and sentence as they left the court.