Teen sentenced to time in Young Offender Institution for killing motorcyclist by putting bike in his path

Michael Rice died after the teenager put a bike in front of his motorbike, causing him to crash (Picture: PA)
Michael Rice died after the teenager put a bike in front of his motorbike, causing him to crash (Picture: PA)

A 16-year-old has been sentenced to three years and two months in a Young Offender Institution for killing a motorcyclist by putting a bike in his way.

The teen, who cannot be named, put the Yobike hire bike in front of 20-year-old Michael Rice as he drove down the road in Bristol in April this year.

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Mr Rice, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, braked and went straight over the handlebars, hitting the back of a parked van. He died instantly from neck and chest injuries.

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The teenager was handed the sentence after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Rice on Thursday.

The court heard that the motorbike Mr Rice had been riding on April 5 had been stolen a day earlier.

The YoBike hire bike was put in Mr Rice's path, causing him to crash (Picture: PA)
The YoBike hire bike was put in Mr Rice's path, causing him to crash (Picture: PA)

Adam Vaitilingam QC said Mr Rice had drawn attention to himself by riding around the Hartcliffe area of Bristol in a “provocative way”, with some members of a crowd of young people outside a pub suggesting that someone should block the road to stop him – with one going forward on a bicycle to face him.

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The teenager, then 15, grabbed hold of the YoBike and dragged it into the road into Mr Rice’s path, who was pulling a wheelie at the time.

Keeping reporting restrictions in place banning the identification of the teen, Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, said: “Your decision to drag a bicycle, on its side, off the pavement so as to cause an obstruction, was an unlawful and dangerous thing to do.

The teen put the YoBike into Mr Rice's path as he was accelerating and pulling a wheelie (Picture: PA)
The teen put the YoBike into Mr Rice's path as he was accelerating and pulling a wheelie (Picture: PA)

He went on: “In my view, when you took the decision to do that dangerous thing, you were doing it so as to impress the older teenagers around you.

“However, any reasonable person would have inevitably realised that doing so risked causing the motorcyclist some bodily harm. It was a reckless act.”

The judge said it would have been possible for Mr Rice to have stopped to avoid the bike but he was accelerating and pulling a “wheelie” at the time.

“It was not the impact of the motorcycle with the bicycle which led to the fatality,” the judge said.

“Instead it was his panicked reaction to what was in front of him in the road which led to him applying the front brake lever while the front wheel was still in the air.

“Tragically, that led to him going over the handlebars of the motorcycle when it touched down and he was killed in an instant when he collided with a parked van.”

Andrew Langdon QC, representing the boy, said he was “horrified by the unintended consequences of his act”.

Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector James Riccio, of Avon and Somerset Police, paid tribute to the “courage and dignity” shown by Mr Rice’s family through the case.

“We appreciate that to Michael’s family and the wider community this sentence may seem lenient,” he said. “We are now looking to consider making a formal appeal to have the sentence reviewed.”

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