East Lothian crime: Driver William Bowman jailed after overtaking cyclist on blind bend and causing crash

East Lothian man jailed after ‘extremely dangerous’ crash with cyclist

A motorist who left a cyclist fearing he was paralysed for life has been jailed for more than 12 months. William Bowman overtook biker Mark Stewart on a blind bend before slamming his brakes on and causing the cyclist to smash his head through the vehicle’s back window, a court heard.

Mr Stewart was left lying on the road unconscious and covered in blood following the collision with Bowman’s silver Saab on a country road near Drem in East Lothian. The seriously injured cyclist was left fearing he would never walk again due to the severe pain in his neck. Following the horror smash, 55-year-old Bowman was seen leaving his vehicle and overheard blaming the biker for the crash in July 2020.

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The motorist pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by driving dangerously earlier this year and returned to the dock for sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday (November 18). Bowman had also admitted to a separate drink driving charge where he was caught with 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath at Longniddry, East Lothian, on April 17 this year.

William Bowman Outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Sheriff Donald Corke jailed Bowman for 14 months and banned him from driving for four years for causing the smash with Mr Stewart and told him he must pass the extended test before he is allowed back on the road. The sheriff also issued Bowman with a four month jail sentence for the drink driving offence with both custodial terms to run concurrently.

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Previously the court was told Mr Stewart was “a highly proficient cyclist” and had embarked on his route on his black Cannondale bike at around 6pm on July 23, 2020. Fiscal depute Ross Price said witnesses spotted Bowman overtaking two female cyclists “on the bend [and] extremely close” in a move that was described as “extremely dangerous”.

Bowman, from Dirleton, East Lothian, was then seen to “race up alongside [Mr Stewart] with the horn blaring” as the pair entered the nearby village of Drem. The fiscal said: “Mr Stewart then recalls the vehicle pulling in front of him and slamming on the brakes causing him to hit the back of the vehicle and lose consciousness.”

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The female cyclists watched what happened and later stated: “The vehicle had overtaken all of us – I saw the driver of the car do an emergency stop. He came to a complete stop on the left side of the road. The cyclist went right into the back of the left hand side of his car, tilted forwards and his head and face went through the rear window of the car breaking the glass. The cyclist fell to the ground to left of the car shouting ‘my neck, my neck’ and there was blood all over his face.”

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The fiscal told the court the seriously injured victim later said: “Being worried that I was paralysed because the pain in my neck was excruciating and I couldn’t move my legs and I had pins and needles in my arms. I asked one of the people helping me to get some photos because I could hear the driver saying it was my fault.”

The court heard Bowman exited his vehicle and “kept asking witnesses for a lighter” and “did not once ask how the complainer was and seemed unphased he was seriously injured”. Mr Price added: “The accused agreed to provide a specimen of breath and provided a negative reading.”

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