Court hears “incredibly moving” words from wife of Chesterfield cyclist killed by careless driver

The wife of a “warm” and “caring” Chesterfield cyclist and college tutor who died after being hit by a speeding driver told a court her husband would want to know about his killer’s past.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 5:40 pm

Vivien East’s “incredibly moving” statement was read out in court today as her husband’s killer Levi Sawyers was jailed for 32 months.

Describing what “Peter would have wanted” his wife wrote Peter would want to know “is he just a young lad who had made a mistake?”

She added: “Has he learned from it and has he made any attempt to make a difference to stop this happening again?”

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"Loved" Chesterfield college tutor and cyclist Peter East

Derby Crown Court was told today (Wednesday) how Peter East, 58, died of multiple injuries three weeks after being hit by Levi Sawyers while cycling with four others on New Year’s Eve, 2019.

Four friends he was riding with - also thrown from their bikes as Sawyers sped around a sharp country bend near Ault Hucknall - survived with cuts and bruises.

Prosecutor Mark Watson said Sawyers, 19 at the time of the collision, admitted his speed was between 30-40mph on the sharp corner.

A collision investigator noted that although the rural stretch of road was subject to the national speed limit the “minimal” safe speed to handle the corner would have been 20mph.

Levi Sawyers, 21, was jailed for 32 months

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When police arrived at the scene they noted a “strong smell” of cannabis while tobacco and a small amount of cannabis was seen inside.

Sawyer’s brother - travelling in a car behind Levi before the crash - told police: “I thought Levi was driving too fast - I expected to see him in the hedge when I got to the bend”.

Ironically the court heard how Chesterfield College tutor Peter and his family - who lived on a country road with no pavements - had campaigned about motorists driving too fast despite being under the national speed limit.

Peter East, 58, died of multiple injuries after being hit by Levi Sawyers while cycling with four others on New Year’s Eve

Speaking about husband Peter, Vivien described him as a person “with the warmest smile and the biggest heart” and spoke of his “big love” for rugby and how local team Tupton became their “rugby family”.

She told how Peter wanted to “make the best of everything for everyone”, adding “when his life ended Peter was still a work-based tutor”.

“He loved this work and was so dedicated - this was the same with everything in life that Peter did.

Peter's sisters Davina Siddall and Joanne East

“There’s too much to explain - so many good things, just how hardworking, dedicated, strong, caring, helpful, outgoing, full of fun and the loving person he was, with the warmest heart and biggest smile.”

Jailing ground worker Sawyers for 32 months Judge Shaun Smith noted that he came from a “supportive, loving and law-abiding family” and that he had referred to Peter and his family since the crash as “my victims”.

He added: “There is no price for a human life, there never can be and I am not putting a price on Mr East’s life when I pass sentence.

“Neither can a sentence be measured by revenge - I must do the best I can to do justice to all sides.”

Sawyers, of Devonshire Terrace, Holmewood, admitted causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.

He was also banned from driving for four years and four months.

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