I can say with all honesty that the 10th April 1977 (Easter Sunday) was the proudest day of our lives. This was the day that our dear son Richard, our first born, entered the world at St. James's Hospital in Leeds. I don't think I have ever seen a more naturally beautiful new-born, he was perfect in every way, dark skinned, beautiful complexion and his best feature was his lovely big dark eyes. Richard never lost those features right up to his untimely death in May 1996, when he was just 19 years of age. Richard's younger brother Steven arrived in 1980 and his sister Eve was born in 1987. Eve was very much in the same mold as Richard which is probably why they had a certain special relationship which is hard to define.
After he left school, Richard decided to attend art college as he had a great talent for art and much of his artwork has pride of place on our walls. He was unsure of his direction after his art college course, so he one day jumped on his push bike and rode a few miles from our village to the local golf course to seek employment. He was immediately successful and more or less started his new job as an apprentice Greenkeeper straight away. I never got round to telling him how proud I was when he got that particular job without any help or prompting from his mother and I. Richard attended a two year college course at Askham Bryan for greenkeeping which he only completed one week before his death. He never saw the City & Guilds certificates that followed his successful final completion of his college work. He was an extremely talented and handsome boy with a great future ahead of him.
In 1995 he decided to purchase a 125cc motorcycle basically to commute to work and back. It is unfortunate to say the least that a little later he then befriended another bike rider who was eventually to take his life. Richard and this lad rode together occasionally simply through their mutual liking of motorcycles. Richard did not get too involved with this person as he had criminal tendencies going back to at least his early teens. He was well known to the police and basically despised by most of the local community. Richard did however, keep the lad on the straight and narrow for the twelve months or so that they were acquainted, so we were told by the other lad's mother two days after Richard's death. On Friday 3rd May 1996, Richard decided to go for a last ride on his motorcycle with this person as he intended taking his motorcycle in to a dealers the next day to sell the machine. At about 10.30pm they were both travelling behind a bus bound for Leeds. Richard eventually overtook the bus leaving the other rider still behind the bus. Richard completed his manoeuvre and was now travelling in front of the bus. Seconds later the bus slowed down to pick up passengers waiting at the next bus stop, and as it did so, Richard also slowed down and appeared at first to start a 'U' turn and ended up stationary at a 45% angle across chevrons which divided the two lanes. His stationary position was approximately 200 yards ahead of the stationary bus. It is unclear why Richard stopped here, it appeared likely, according to investigations, that he had positioned himself in order to look back to see where his acquaintance was. As the other rider overtook the bus he soon picked up speed. This lad passed the bus and continued riding (for reasons only known to him) along the dead centre of the chevrons, eventually reaching a speed in excess of 48mph (the speed limit here is 40mph) and crashed directly into Richard.
Richard died of multiple injuries after about 20 minutes. We were told by people in attendance that he did recover consciousness a couple of times. The rider of the other motorcycle suffered minor injuries. He was proved guilty of 'driving without due care and attention' and was fined £210 and 9 penalty points on his license.
At the end of April 1999, almost three years after the incident, the other rider decided to pursue a civil action against our deceased son, putting the full blame of the incident on Richard, and had the claim sent directly to Richard's mother at our home address. He was somehow successful in being awarded an extremely large amount of compensation which gave him the immediate audacity to return to our village bragging about his indemnification.
The upset and trauma that this person caused by his malicious actions, resulted in Richard's mother attempting to take her own life in October 1999 as she could no longer cope with her precious son being put on trial by the person who was basically responsible for Richard's death.
It has only recently come to our attention that this lad has another civil action ongoing against a private company in relation to the same incident in which our son died, and he is again using the same excuse that the incident was Richard's fault to gain large amounts of compensation. So in effect, this lad is putting our deceased son Richard on trial yet again in order to satisfy his own selfish greed, and apparently we are not even allowed legally to be involved to defend Richard against the allegations. He continues to make our lives so unbelievably intolerable.
Richard's mother and I, and our other two children, continue our life sentence with the addition of the other rider adding outrageous insult to immense injustice.