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Motorcyclist Matthew Day appeared to ‘grab front brake’ before fatal collision on A10 at Southery with RAF Lakenheath servicewoman Mikayla Hayes, court told

A motorcyclist appeared to grab his front brake as a US servicewoman emerged from a junction across his path, before he struck her car and was fatally injured, a court has heard.

Airman first class Mikayla Hayes, 25, pulled out to turn right on to the A10 at Southery when motorcyclist Matthew Day was “10 to 15 metres” from her car, according to the testimony of witness Graeme Pratt.

Father-of-one Mr Day, who was travelling south on the A10 on a red-and-white Yamaha motorbike, collided with the defendant’s maroon-coloured Honda Accord on August 26 last year.

Mikayla Hayes is on trial accused for causing death by dangerous driving. Picture: PA
Mikayla Hayes is on trial accused for causing death by dangerous driving. Picture: PA

The 33-year-old died of his injuries later that day, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Hayes, who had been travelling from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk to her home in Downham, had emerged from the B1160 Lynn Road turning right onto the A10.

She denies causing Mr Day’s death by careless driving.

Matthew Day, 33, died in a collision on the A10 at Southery. Picture: Norfolk Police
Matthew Day, 33, died in a collision on the A10 at Southery. Picture: Norfolk Police

Mr Pratt was riding his motorbike behind the Honda driven by Hayes as it approached the junction with the A10.

He told the court that the Honda was being driven “normally, it wasn’t veering across the road”.

Mr Pratt said that at the junction “I pulled up behind the car, it sat there – I could see the person in the driver’s seat looking both ways”.

He said: “There was heavy traffic – they just sat there looking.”

A10 at Southery. Picture: Google Maps
A10 at Southery. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Pratt said it “felt like four or five minutes sat there waiting to get out, that would be an estimate”, adding: “It felt a long time.”

He said a car travelling south on the A10 indicated left to turn off at the Southery junction, the motorbike was behind it and “my thought process was once that bike was past us there was sufficient gap for both of us to get out”.

“I recall the Honda moving forward, I stayed where I was, I looked up and I could see the Honda pulling out and the motorcycle still travelling down the A10,” he said.

RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Mark Westley
RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Mark Westley

Asked by prosecutor Rachel Scott what the gap between the motorcycle and the Honda was when the car moved forward, he replied: “I would estimate as 10 to 15 metres.”

Questioned about what the motorbike did as the Honda moved forward, Mr Pratt said: “I’m presuming the rider grabbed the front brake – I watched the front of the bike dip, which is normally pulling the front brake.”

Asked how soon after the Honda pulled out he saw the bike dip, he replied: “Seconds, I couldn’t give an exact time.”

He said that as he saw the Honda move forward “I shouted ‘no’ in my helmet”.

Matthew Day was killed in a crash in Southerly
Matthew Day was killed in a crash in Southerly

“It was a reaction,” he said. “I was shouting ‘no’ to the woman to stop, I could see what was going to happen.”

He said that when the Honda moved forward “there was no urgency to fly across the road”.

Mr Pratt said he saw the Yamaha motorbike strike the side of the Honda, with the bike and rider thrown into the air.

Norwich Crown Court
Norwich Crown Court

Driver Derek Cummings, who was also queuing for the junction and witnessed the collision, said: “It happened so fast.

“I didn’t register any real time between the car moving off and the motorcyclist hitting the car.”

He said he asked the woman in the Honda if she was hurt and she “pointed to her head and suggested she had hurt her head”.

Mr Cummings added that the woman was “clearly very upset, very emotional”.

The case is being heard at Norwich Crown Court. Picture: PA
The case is being heard at Norwich Crown Court. Picture: PA

Driver Leona Palmer said she was travelling south on the A10 and when she indicated left for the Southery junction, the motorbike behind her carried straight on.

“I saw a car come from the Southery turning turn right and I just saw a lady in a red car and she was flapping her hands,” she told jurors.

“I thought ‘what’s happened?’

“I had my radio on, I think I heard a bang but I can’t be certain.”

She said she stopped her car and went to “reassure” the motorcyclist in the road, putting a sheet over his leg which was in a “terrible state”.

She said the motorbike had stayed behind her while she was on the A10, adding: “I don’t think we got up to 60mph as there was a bit of traffic.”

Mr Day’s partner Jenny Smith said, in a statement read by the prosecutor, that she had been with him for four-and-a-half years and “ever since I knew Matthew he rode motorbikes”.

She described him as a “good rider”, adding: “I wouldn’t describe Matthew as a risk taker and he would wait for gaps in traffic to overtake, for example.”

She said she was aware that he smoked cannabis, describing him as a “casual user”, and said she did not know when he last smoked the drug.

Earlier in the trial, Ms Scott had told the court that the collision happened just before 4pm and driving conditions were good.

She said traffic was “fairly heavy which was normal for that time of afternoon on a Friday”.

The prosecutor said that Hayes pulled into the path of the motorbike as it approached and Mr Day was “thrown into the air and landed in the mouth of the Lynn Road junction”.

She said a witness who was driving in front of Mr Day on the A10 said the motorcyclist was matching her speed, which was “well under 60mph”.

Ms Scott said a second witness, an experienced motorcyclist who was waiting behind Hayes at the junction in Lynn Road, said he “saw her head turning from side to side” as she waited.

The witness said he saw Mr Day’s motorbike approaching and saw Hayes drive forward and collide with Mr Day’s motorbike.

Another witness, who was on his way home from work when he saw the aftermath of the collision and stopped, said Hayes “kept saying ‘I didn’t see him’”, said Ms Scott.

The prosecutor said the witness reported that Hayes “said ‘I stopped, looked both ways, pulled out and didn’t see him’”.

In an interview with police she said she was driving home from work taking her “normal route home”.

“She said she looked both ways and saw a clear passageway both left and right, looked again to make sure it was clear then pulled out,” Ms Scott said.

The defendant reported that she saw Mr Day’s motorbike when she was “at the halfway point of her turn”, Ms Scott said, and he hit her car.

Ms Scott said Hayes said the colour of the motorbike “appeared to blend into the road and sky”.

Both vehicles were examined and no faults were found that would have contributed to the collision.

Hayes was breathalysed and drugs tested and the results were both negative, and there was no evidence she was using her phone, Ms Scott said.

She said tests on Mr Day found a “low concentration of THC”, indicating he had taken cannabis at some point before the collision.

“The evidence doesn’t suggest he failed to react appropriately when Miss Hayes pulled out in front of him,” Ms Scott said.

She said that experts for the defence and prosecution agree that “nothing about the road, the weather or the driving conditions was a factor”.

“They also agree that the main cause of the collision was Miss Hayes pulling out from a side road into the path of a motorbike that had priority,” said Ms Scott.

She said that experts disagree about how many seconds there were between Hayes pulling out and the collision, and how many seconds Mr Day had to react.

“The issue at the heart of this case is whether the defendant’s driving fell below the standard expected of a careful and competent driver,” said Ms Scott.

“The prosecution case is there’s no good reason why Miss Hayes didn’t see Mr Day’s motorbike.”

The trial continues.

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