Driver who killed rugby player avoids jail ‘as he was already punishing himself’

Clive Rowland, 47, avoided prison sentence after expressing “genuine remorse” for the incident that left Gavin Drewery, 34, dead on a stretch of the Garrowby Hill in East Yorkshire

Clive Rowland, 47, was making a turn on a dangerous stretch of the infamous Garrowby Hill
Clive Rowland, 47, was making a turn on a dangerous stretch of the infamous Garrowby Hill

A driver who killed a motorcyclist on a notoriously dangerous road has avoided an immediate prison sentence after expressing genuine remorse for the incident.

Clive Rowland, 47, was making a turn on a stretch of the Garrowby Hill in East Yorkshire when he crashed into oncoming motorcyclist Gavin Drewery.

Mr Drewery, 34, was said to be travelling at around 60mph when he struck Rowland’s vehicle, HullLive reports.

A keen sportsman and talented rugby player, he died at Leeds General Infirmary three days after the incident.

Rowland pleaded guilty to the charge of death by careless or inconsiderate driving earlier this month and on Wednesday avoided an immediate custodial sentence.

Gavin Drewery was 34 at the time of his tragic death


Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

He appeared at Hull Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday for sentencing after pleading guilty to the charges earlier this month.

District Judge Passfield said that Rowland was already punishing himself more than any custodial sentence that she could pass.

The court heard that Rowland was attempting to make a right turn off Garrowby Hill into Hill Top Farm on August 6, 2020.

Rowland had performed all the necessary pre-checks before making the turn and had slowed to an appropriate speed.

Defending, Ben Hibbert said: “He slowed to around 5mph as corroborated by the driver behind him and began to make the turn.

“When he saw the bike approaching he did try and accelerate out of its path but his vehicle was unable to do so.

Rowland pleaded guilty to the charge of death by careless or inconsiderate driving


Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

“He remained at the scene and cooperated with the police throughout their investigation, he also pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

“Mr Rowland fully accepts that he is at fault, speaking to the writer of the pre-sentence report he said he feels he will never be the same man again.”

Mr Hibbert went on to say that the incident had a “significant” impact on the defendant and had been a factor in the breakdown of his marriage.

He continued: “He has consistently throughout about the impact of this incident on others, on the family of Mr Drewery to whom he has written letters expressing his remorse, on his own family and his children who have now experienced a breakdown in their parents’ relationship.

“There is clearly nothing that Mr Rowland can say or do to change what happened on that day and lessen the loss for Mr Drewery’s family.

“He admitted at the first opportunity that he did not see Mr Drewery driving towards him and was at fault in this case.”

Gavin Drewery was a keen rugby player and a much loved friend and family member


Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

The court also heard the impact of Gavin Drewery’s death on his parents, who had only just lost their other son Ian in 2018.

It was clear from the victim impact statements that Mr Drewery was much loved by his friends and family, District Judge Passfield said.

She said: “There is nothing I can say or do today that can lessen the sense of loss that is felt by Gavin’s friends and family.

“Mr Rowland carried out all of the pre-manoeuvre checks that you might expect from a careful driver but he did not properly assess the road conditions ahead before making the turn.

“It is clear since the incident that Mr Rowland’s primary concern has not been himself but the other people that have been affected by the collision.

Hull Magistrates’ Court


Hull Live)

“He presents as genuinely insightful and remorseful and takes full responsibility for his actions and the consequences.

“There is no sentence that I can pass that will punish him more than he is already punishing himself.”

She praised Mr Drewery’s bereaved partner Sarah Lightowler who asked the court to show leniency if Rowland was found to be genuinely remorseful.

Rowland was sentenced to an eight week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months, he was also disqualified from driving for a period of 18 months.

He was also ordered to pay costs and fines totalling £225 and to carry out 200 hours of community service.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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