Van driver facing 'substantial' jail term for killing e-scooter rider in Bamber Bridge

A van driver who ran over an e-scooter rider on the main street in Bamber Bridge is facing a "substantial" prison sentence after admitting manslaughter.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 2:38 pm
Ben was leaning against the Transit van when he was dragged under the wheels and crushed.

Samuel Bretherton was found not guilty of murdering 20-year-old Ben Smith at a trial at Preston Crown Court.

But a judge told Bretherton, 25, of Mellor Road, Leyland, that he must expect a hefty jail term when he appears for sentence in December.

The court was told that father of one Ben, from Walton-le-Dale, was riding his scooter along Station Road with a friend John Devane on a pedal cycle when there was an altercation near to the Morrisons store between Devane and Bretherton who was driving a Ford Transit van.

Friends lined the street in Bamber Bridge for Ben's funeral.

Bretherton had been arguing with his ex-partner by text shortly before the incident. Devane was the girl's new partner and during the row the van's wing mirror was kicked off.

Moments later Ben, who was leaning against the van, was pulled from his e-scooter and under the wheels of the Transit. He suffered multiple injuries and died some time later in the Royal Preston Hospital.

At an earlier hearing Bretherton pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted a lesser charge of manslaughter.

The jury took five and a half hours to reach their verdict of not guilty to murder.

Balloons, flowers and photographs were held up in memory of Ben as his funeral cortege went slowly through the town.

Bretherton was in tears in the dock as Judge Simon Medland QC told him he would be sentenced on December 20.

The incident happened around 1pm on February 11. On March 6 Bamber Bridge came to a standstill as Ben's funeral cortege moved slosly through the town.

Friends lined the route holding flowers, balloons and photographs of Ben. A line of motorcyclists joined the funeral procession.

At the time a close friend, Jack Waring, said: "All who knew Ben knew he was one of the most loyal and loving people you would ever meet."

Ben had a four-year-old daughter. In a statement his family said: "Ben was a much-loved son, father, partner, grandson and friend to many. He was taken from us in such tragic circumstances."