Drug-driver jailed for killing East Ham motorcycle display team instructor
PUBLISHED: 14:05 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:16 21 March 2017
The mum of a young motorcycle display team instructor killed by a speeding drug-driver has paid tribute to a “beautiful soul” as the man responsible for his death is jailed for seven years.
Former bus driver Gerald Cotter, 49, of Prout Road, Clapton, was sentenced at the Old Bailey today having previously pleaded guilty to causing the death of Kieron Fevrier by dangerous driving and to driving with no insurance.
Kieron, 23, was an instructor at the East Ham-based Imps Motorcycle Display Team and had been riding a motorbike along Orient Way, Leyton, on the evening of November 30 last year when he was killed.
The court was told how Cotter, who had taken cocaine, overtook a number of cars in a “crazy way” as he drove, forcing other motorists to swerve and break suddenly as he overtook on the wrong side of the road.
Kieron, from Basildon, suffered head injuries in the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Paying tribute to her son during the two-day sentencing hearing, Kieron’s mum Nicki Fevrier said: “Kieron was a beautiful soul - a kind, generous and funny young man who was loved by everyone he knew.
“The night we realised our beautiful Kieron was killed will be etched in our minds forever.
“It was like someone ripped out our hearts slowly.”
After the collision, Cotter, who has a number of previous convictions for drug and driving offences, told police it was not his fault and he was not to blame, the Old Bailey heard.
Officers found a knife and three stolen passports when they searched Cotter’s car, which James Hasslacher, mitigating, said were bought in the hope of making a “small profit” on them
He also said his client bore no malice or ill-will towards Kieron and had expressed his remorse.
Judge Stephen Kramer QC sentenced Cotter to six years for causing death by dangerous driving plus a year to run concurrently for having no insurance at the time of the crash.
The judge also jailed him for a further year for handling stolen goods and a blade, to run consecutively to the driving offences, and disqualified him from driving for eight and a half years.
He told Cotter: “It is clear you have deprived a family of a much-loved family member. Nothing I can do today can turn the clock back.”
In a statement issued after Cotter’s sentencing, Kieron’s family said: “The day Kieron was killed ended our family life as it was, Kieron was an intelligent, caring young man who at 23 was just beginning his life. We are serving a life sentence whilst the man responsible will be out before Kieron would have been 30.
“We miss Kieron everyday and don’t know how we will get by without him, as he was such a big part of our lives. He should have been setting up home with his girlfriend Emma this year and planning for their future. Cotter has robbed two young people of a promising life together.
“We thank the police for pursuing this case and our family liaison officer who has been an invaluable support.
“We only hope Cotter sees our beautiful boy’s face every time he closes his eyes. Kieron was a true blessing and a friend to everyone who knew him, he always saw the good in everyone! Something we will treasure forever.
“The careless stupid actions of one man who at 49 should have known better to have torn a family apart and robbed everyone of a truly wonderful human being.
“We will never forgive Cotter for his selfish actions.”
Roy Pratt MBE, team director of the Imps, also paid tribute, saying: “Kieron was a member of The Imps Motorcycle Display Team the majority of his life during which time he was a highly valued member of the team both as a rider and then in the role of an instructor and leader.
“He stood out from the crowd as a quiet gentleman whom everybody respected.
“Kieron had become a highly skilled, competent and responsible motorcyclist who was pleased to help younger members learn those skills and to encourage them to become quality team members.
“Kieron has performed in many parts of the world including Bermuda and Jordan where he assisted me in training the Prince and Princess of Jordan to ride motorcycles.
“Kieron is irreplaceable but his legacy will live forever within the Imps.”