Pair sent to prison after death of Brentwood cyclist

A woman whose husband was killed while training for a charity bike ride said she hopes the sentence handed to the pair responsible for his death will send a message to other people considering driving without proper qualifications.

Steven Rodway, 38, of Rayleigh Road, Hutton, died on June 13 2010 when he was struck by a car on the A114 Ongar Road at Stapleford Tawney.

On Monday, Chelmsford Crown Court heard that the driver of the car, Alex Dexter, 23, of Torrington Gardens, Loughton, was uninsured and had no licence.

He was driving the car of his then-girlfriend Lauren Mellish, now 22, from Orchard Lane, Pilgrims Hatch, and she was a passenger.

Prosecutor Mark Halsey told the court that the pair told witnesses and the police that a third person had been driving the car before fleeing the scene.

A large police search was carried out for the third person – who did not really exist. One witness said Mellish seemed to be more concerned about her damaged car than the cyclist her car had hit. Dexter had no licence and had previously failed two theory tests.

Judge Christopher Ball said he acknowledged that both defendants had shown remorse about what happened.

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He said: “You seem to wish you can turn the clock back, and don’t we all, but you cannot.

“The court has to try to send a message to those people tempted to drive without insurance or not fully qualified.”

Dexter had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of causing death by careless driving, one count of causing death while uninsured and one of causing death without having a driving licence.

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and banned from driving for three years.

Mellish had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of aiding and abetting Dexter’s causing death while driving without insurance.

She was sentenced to six months in prison and banned from driving for three years. She is believed to be the first person to be convicted of aiding and abetting a motoring offence.

After the hearing, Steven’s wife Marrissa, 35, said: “If the sentence stops other people suffering what happened to us, that’s the only good thing.”

Referring to her two young children, she added: “Erica, who is now aged two, does not know what a daddy is and calls men who she doesn’t know ‘daddy’.

“Harriet, who is now six, has had many hurdles to overcome in the first year without her daddy: her birthday, Father’s Day, school and family holidays to name a few.”