Horrific accident on Scarborough beach, as beloved pet dog was hit and killed by motorcyclist 'riding at excessive speed'

A motorcyclist who ran over and killed a beloved pet dog on Scarborough’s South Bay Beach was driving at an “excessive” speed, a court heard.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 11:24 am
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 11:26 am

Adam Fletcher, 30, struck the young dog - a Patterdale Terrier named Mabel - as he rode along the sands with a friend, York Crown Court heard.

Fletcher claimed not to have seen the dog and thought he had struck a “sandcastle or a rock”, said prosecutor Brooke Morrison.

He also claimed that it could have been his co-rider’s bike which struck the two-year-old dog.

Scarborough's South Bay beach

The dog is thought to have been killed almost instantly and was carried back home about a 20-minute walk away by her heartbroken owners, who put out an appeal on Facebook to find the rider.

It was only when Fletcher spotted the Facebook posts later that day that he contacted police, telling them: “I think I hit a dog.”

He owned up to being the rider but claimed he hadn’t realised at the time that he had struck an animal.

“He said he was ‘gutted’ when he found out it was an animal,” added Ms Morrison.

Fletcher was riding “in such a manner that he didn’t see the dog before the incident”.

Ms Morrison said Fletcher had been riding around Scarborough's Old Town with other motorcyclists when he and his pal split off from the others and rode on to the beach, which was quite busy with families and dog walkers.

“The defendant and the other rider drove up the beach at some speed and were said to be in close proximity to each other,” she added.

The terrier was struck by one of the bikes and “seems to have died within minutes”.

“The riders did not seem to notice the (collision) and did not stop or slow (down),” said Ms Morrison.

The couple who owned the dog took her body home and later had her cremated.

Ms Morrison said Fletcher was “very remorseful” and was “gutted to find it was a dog”.

The named female owner told of the unbearable “trauma” of witnessing the “violent manner of (her dog’s) premature death”.

She said it was a “loss so great” and that Mabel’s death had had a “massive” impact on her and her partner. She had since suffered from sleep problems and “intrusive thoughts” and they had both had to take time off work.

Fletcher was initially charged with dangerous driving following the incident on February 15 last year, but the prosecution ultimately dropped that allegation and the defendant pleaded guilty to careless driving. He appeared for sentence on Wednesday.

Defence barrister Rob Stephenson described the incident as a “tragic accident” and said Fletcher was otherwise a “mild-mannered” man and an animal-lover.

Recorder Paul Reid said it was not certain whether Fletcher and his mate had been “racing” but that riding motorbikes on a beach full of people was “inherently unsafe”.

Fletcher, of Sherburn, had been travelling at “excessive speed” on the sands where “anything but a slow speed was unsafe”.

“Unfortunately, the tragic consequences of this was that a much-loved pet dog was killed,” added Mr Reid.

Mr Reid told Fletcher: “You and the other man should not have been riding on Scarborough beach with your motorcycles. There were children, there were dogs, and there’s always a risk of a dog or a child suddenly appearing from nowhere.”

Although Fletcher was not hit with any punitive order, he was fined £500 and ordered to pay the owners of the dog £209 compensation, in part to cover the costs of the dog’s cremation.

Fletcher was also ordered to pay £425 costs and had eight points added to his licence.