A tractor driver who killed a woman and seriously injured her son while they were cycling has been sentenced to prison for over eight years.

Jonathan Sumner, 33, of Arclid, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving following an incident on April 27, 2020.

Helen Wickham, 53, had been cycling with her son – who was 19 at the time - along the A54 Holmes Chapel Road at around 7.25 pm when they were struck by a tractor towing a field roller, driven by Sumner. Helen died at the scene from her injuries.

Sumner stated he did not see the cyclists ahead of him, and only realised what had happened when he felt the field roller move and looked in his rear-view mirror.

He claimed he was blinded by the sun, but officers concluded that although the sun was low, Sumner would have had sufficient visibility.

He would have had time to see the cyclists ahead, as they would have been in view from a distance of around 210m.

However, Sumner was shown to be travelling in excess of the permitted speed limit of 20mph for the combination of tractor and trailer.

A full examination of Sumner’s mobile phone was carried out, which showed he had been using his phone while driving, including viewing images and videos on Snapchat.

This activity was shown to be around one minute before the collision. At the time of the collision, the phone screen was illuminated with a WhatsApp message, although this was not opened.

He was jailed for eight years and six months at Chester Crown Court on Friday, November 10. Sumner will be subject to a five-year driving ban upon his release.

Sergeant Simon Degg, of Cheshire Constabulary, said: “Sumner’s actions back in April 2020 have devastated a family and should serve as a reminder of the vital importance of paying full attention while driving.

“Sumner was essentially driving a lethal weapon. He was in control of a combined 11-tonnes, yet he thought it was appropriate to be on his mobile phone.

“This collision was completely avoidable, and I hope the sentence handed to Sumner will provide some form of closure for Helen’s family."