Hotel manager cleared of causing city biker’s death

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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 to his home in Edinburgh on November 16, 2010.

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 by a majority verdict.

Sheriff Donald Corke said 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 – who had a fiancee and a young son.

“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.”

The trial heard how Mr Marlow was thrown from his bike following the collision with the Land Rover on the A1 and was then run over 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 5pm 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.

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 car was struck by the bike.

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

The family of Mr Marlow declined to comment.