Schoolgirl, 13, killed just 20 yards into her first motorcycle ride as she rode pillion with inexperienced neighbour

  • Caitlin Edwards was killed when newly-qualified Adrian Hope, 41, offered to take her for a ride
  • The motorbike was driven just 20 metres and was doing 29mph when it crashed
  • Hope, from Merthyr Tydfi, was jailed for 18 months after admitting death by dangerous driving
  • Now 'disqualified from driving for four years'

By Amanda Williams

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A schoolgirl was killed on her first ever ride on a motorbike when her neighbour crashed after just 20 yards.

Caitlin Edwards, 13, was still in her pyjamas when newly-qualified Adrian Hope, 41, offered to take her for a spin on his powerful new bike.

But Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, in Wales, heard excited Caitlin was only on the back of the bike for seconds when it crashed into a car and she was thrown into a wall.

'Princess' Caitlin Edwards, 13, was still in her pyjamas when she died during a ride on the motorbike of newly qualified Adrian Hope, 41

'Princess' Caitlin Edwards, 13, was still in her pyjamas when she died during a ride on the motorbike of newly qualified Adrian Hope, 41

Hope, from Merthyr Tydfi, was jailed for 18 months after admitting death by dangerous driving

Hope, from Merthyr Tydfi, was jailed for 18 months after admitting death by dangerous driving

Caitlin, described as a 'beautiful princess' by her parents, was not wearing a helmet and suffered massive head injuries.

She died a week later when her life support machine was turned off.

 

The court heard Hope had only passed his test eight weeks earlier and was struggling to cope with the 1200cc Suzuki motorbike.

Prosecutor Heath Edwards said: 'Hope pulled up on the bike outside Caitlin's home and she asked for a ride on the back.

'Her mother was there - she heard the request and thought nothing of it. Caitlin who was dressed in pyjama bottoms and a vest top climbed onto the bike.

The motorbike bike was driven just 20 metres and was doing 29mph when it crashed. Caitlin, of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, suffered multiple injuries

The motorbike bike was driven just 20 metres and was doing 29mph when it crashed. Caitlin, of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, suffered multiple injuries

'She laughed when Hope, who intended to drive the bike just three doors down, stalled it.

'But as he restarted it, he opened the throttle in such a way that the bike shot forward.'

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard Hope planned to drive to a house just three doors down from Caitlin's home.

Investigations revealed the motorbike was driven just 20 metres and was doing 29mph when it crashed.

Hope broke his neck in the accident and Caitlin, of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, suffered multiple injuries.

Mr Edwards said the family does not blame Hope 'solely for the tragic incident which resulted in the death.'

Council labourer Hope, of Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil, sobbed as he was jailed for 18 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

Aled Watkins, defending, said: 'This case is tragic in every sense, it has affected two families significantly.

'He is deeply ashamed for what he has done and does not like the thought of showing his face in public.'

Hope was also disqualified from driving for four years and will have to pass an extended driving test.
 


 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Direct Access. Over 21's can take a 2 day crash course and ride a bike of any size/power output. It's passing your driving test in a ford fiesta and stepping straight into a Lambo or Ferrari, except there are no seatbelts, airbags or in this case helmets.... Irresponsible.

Click to rate     Rating   34

I passed my Bike test last month, admittedly 40y late, but, because I passed it on a 125cc machine, I am restricted to a 25kW power output, so presumably this man did the Direct Access course allowing him to ride any machine. I wonder what the accident statistics are for the Direct Access route over the restriced route? However, new rules come into effect next month where motorcycles are split into 3 categories of A1 for Lightweight 125cc machines of 11kW, A2 for lager machines up to 35kW and A for unlimited. In the future, if you are 17, you will have to pass an A1 test. After two years experience you can take the A2 test, but if you are already19 or over, you can go straight to an A2 licence without an A1. For an unlimited Category A licence, over 35kW, you need to have 2y A2 experience and aged 24. There will still be the Direct Access Route to Cat.A for riders aged 24 or over. I wonder if this is sensible?

Click to rate     Rating   18

Im I the only one that read that her mother was there when she got on the bike? Everyone is blamimg the driver as he should have been the responsible adult but he wasnt the only adult involved here. It should never have happened but I thing the prison sentence was harsh given the circumstances. RIP beautiful princess xx

Click to rate     Rating   57

So easy in hindsight, isn't it, to sit and pass judgement on others, like so many here? When I read something like this, on the other hand, I think 'there but for the Grace of God', and I am not even religious. To all those 'holier than thou', think of the things that could have gone wrong in your life, and how you would feel if it had and others behaved as you? Does it sound to you as though the guy is not totally broken and horrified by what he did? How does jailing him help either him, you, society, or as a lesson to others? It would be like jailing that poor guy who lifted his daughter into helicopter blades when greeting her. He intended to ride her three doors away, with the mother there, and she cannot find the heart to blame. You, on the other hand,......!

Click to rate     Rating   45

I've been riding bikes for forty years. ; in my first year, something similar happened to me as a learner on a Honda 50. As you acceperate, your body weight is dragged back and the twistgrip is harder to close if you don't expect that acceleration. I was on my own that day and the only thing hurt was my pride!

Click to rate     Rating   31

The fact that he stalled a 1200 says he was completely incompetent.

Click to rate     Rating   14

I've rode pillion plenty times before. Tragic accident.

Click to rate     Rating   9

Try living in south america,you will see all sorts of families on a motor bike without any thought of protective gear.Thats life out here.

Click to rate     Rating   4

He deserves the custodial sentence to reflect on the numerous poor decisions he made which culminated in this child's death. The teenager's mother is not blameless as she failed in her parental duty to ensure her child's safety when she realised her teenager would be riding pillion on a motorcycle. The back of a motorcycle is not a place to be inappropriately dressed, or where to flout the law, which she did by not wearing a helmet. The shattered lives highlight exactly why it is NEVER right to use a powerful motorcycle as an ego-boosting toy. As a 31 year old experienced biker and owner of a supersport motorcycle, the decision to start a family last year with my childhood sweetheart was swiftly followed by the realisation that my love affair with my bike was going to end. I have not had the heart to part with my two-wheeled baby yet, but my son's smile has also prevented me from ridding for 18 months. She will be for sale next month, in time for someone to enjoy the summer months.

Click to rate     Rating   10

i,m 51 yrs old & owned a motorcycle since the age of 11 yrs old & passed my test at 17 yrs old & would consider myself as a very experinced biker but i would never consider having a child on the back ,my girlfreinds son wanted to ride on the back of my suzuki 1200 bandit but i refused him ride for safey

Click to rate     Rating   23

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