Two women who were hit on their way home by an executive of the company have now revealed how devastating it was. Yesterday, the driver involved walked out of court.

Andy Coles (56), and Damien Natale (52) were killed while they rode on the A40 through Oxfordshire, on June 1, last year.

Yesterday, the driver, Clifford Rennie, 61, left court having been given a suspended sentence, a driving ban and a £475 fine. Two counts of careless driving had been admitted by him earlier.

After hearing statements from both partners, the court pronounced the sentence. One of them described the circumstances as “beyond tragedy”. 

Helen Atherton (the partner of Mr Coles) said that June 1, 2019, was a date that is deeply etched in her mind as “beyond tragedy,” “beyond awful,” and “beyond anything I canimagine”.

She stated in her statement that she had lost all of her world.

Tracey Natale, Tracey’s childhood sweetheart and wife of Mr Natale, stated that she feels like she is serving a “life sentence”. 

Clifford Rennie, pictured outside High Wycombe Magistrates' Court in Buckinghamshire, killed two cyclists while driving home from his office but he has walked free from court

Clifford Rennie, pictured outside High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court in Buckinghamshire, killed two cyclists while driving home from his office but he has walked free from court

Andy Coles, 56

Damien Natale, 52,

Rennie struck Andy Coles, 56 (left) and Damien Natale, 52 (right), as they drove on the A40 in Oxfordshire between Studley Green, Piddington, and High Wycombe.

Rennie drove his vehicle from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire to the court and struck Mr Coles, Mr Natale.

Is there a law that prohibits careless driving resulting in death? 

Careless driving can lead to death.

This offense is less grave than the causing death or dangerous driving. The standard of driving should be far lower than that of competent, careful drivers.

Death by careless driving is a sensitive topic. The penalties and consequences are not only devastating to the victims’ families but also very low in the penalty scale.

Maximum sentence for dangerous driving is 5 years.

The Sentencing Council includes aggravating factors such as the death of more than one victim. 

If the reckless or negligent driving results from inattention, but there are no other aggravating factors to the situation, a community order will be the first sentence that a judge considers. It is not a custodial sentence.

A judge may ask for the consideration of mitigating circumstances, even if the offence is much more severe. This includes whether or not the driver remained on the scene and assisted, any previous convictions or driving records and any signs that genuine remorse. Also, a guilty plea could be considered.

The judge may decide that the offence warrants a custodial sentence. However, the judge might ask for reconsideration as to whether the suspension of the sentence is necessary.

Consider factors like if there are realistic prospects of rehabilitation and strong personal mitigation. Also, consider whether an immediate custodial sentence would impact negatively on others, particularly if the defendant is younger. 

A driver convicted of careless driving causing the death of another person will only be allowed to continue their sentence if they do not meet these requirements.

Rennie was driving in his Volkswagen Golf, and he traveled in the opposite direction. He collided from behind with Mr Natale & Mr Coles.

Coles, 56 years of age, was thrown from the top of the hill with his broken bicycle stuck in a tree.

52 year old Mr Natale was taken into the opposite direction and located over 50m from the spot where the crash occurred.

Oxford Crow Court heard that both men were cycling close together, and they died instantly.

Rennie’s VW Golf 2019-plate driver swerved and struck the cyclists at the top of the hill.

Rennie was said to have been standing at the spot holding his head in both hands, and saying, ‘There’s only two of them.

It was a sunny evening and Rennie, even though overhanging trees created shaded areas on the roads, was able to see them. 

Rennie said “no comment” when asked questions during his first interview with the police.

He gave a prepared statement in his second interview, expressing his sympathy for the family members of cyclists.

Rennie said he was a bicycle rider and couldn’t explain why he hadn’t seen them.

The defendant wrote a note to the Judge in which he repeated his apology and expressed regret for the events.

He expressed his hope that Mr Coles’ and Mr Natale’s families can be brought to closure by the right justice served.

Christopher Martin stated in mitigation that his victim was haunted by the fact that he couldn’t give the families of his victims answers as to why he hadn’t seen the cyclists.

Brady Natale’s father told the court, “In that instant you didn’t turn, you took our family’s little bit of calm.”

“You took stability in our family. You had a husband who loved us, and you also had a father who was dedicated to your son. And you could have any grandfather you wanted. 

“You are not worthy for me to endure the pain of writing this, particularly when my answer is ‘no comment.

Rennie, who was clutching his beard, was seen at the dock as Brady’s sister Coral told the court that the tragedy had “knocked my life out”. 

Derek Coles stated that the night of his brother’s suicide was ‘nothing less than horrendous.

He described feeling euphoria after learning that his brother had passed away instantly.

It is my only hope that it will be remembered, and I am certain that he did not feel pain or fear.

Clifford Rennie outside Oxford Crown Court after being handed a two-year suspended prison sentence

After being sentenced to a suspended two-year term in prison, Clifford Rennie was seen outside Oxford Crown Court.

Rennie wasn’t charged with manslaughter. The delays that the case reached court were a source of frustration for the family.

Rennie was an engineer in industrial chemicals and was also a director of a company. He had been awarded a Queen’s Award as an innovator.

Judge Michael Gledhill QC sentenced Rennie to two years’ imprisonment suspended for two years, banned him from driving for five years, and ordered he pay £475 in costs.

Rennie won’t have to be in jail unless he is convicted of additional offenses.

Rennie must also take an extended test after his disqualification.

Judge Gledhill stated to the families of victims that no words could bring back these men.

“Nobody can be more moved by the loss of loved ones.

“The implications for their loved ones, as well as their family members and friends is really appalling.

“Some, or all, of these people feel that their lives are over.

“But I do hope that these proceedings will now be over and that there is some sort of closure.”

“If it were possible to make the situation better for everyone involved, I would. I’m sorry to report that I am unable.

The 61-year-old company director, who ploughed into the back of cyclists Andy Coles and Damien Natale killing them instantly, was sentenced to two years' imprisonment suspended for two years

A 61-year old company director was sent to two years imprisonment with a suspended sentence for two years after he crashed into Damien Natale and Andy Coles, killing them both instantly.

“I am expressing my condolences for all of your losses and I wish to express my sympathy.”

Rennie of Wallingford (Oxfordshire) pleaded guilty at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court to two counts causing the death of careless driver.

Sergeant Darren Brown from Thames Valley Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit stated that it was an unfortunate accident.

‘Due the way Mr Rennie drove on that summer afternoon last year two men went for a ride and did not come home to their family members.

We were able prove Mr Rennie’s reckless driving was the cause of the deaths of Andy, Damien and Damien. Based on the evidence presented, Mr Rennie accepted both charges.

“This at least spared Andy’s family and Damien’s friends from the additional trial.”

He stated that whatever the motive for Mr Rennie’s negligent driving that evening it was clear that Andy or Damien were not involved in this accident.

“This case is a reminder that motorists must be alert to the surroundings and aware of any other road users.

‘I’m sure that Andy and Damien’s friends and family would have taken some solace from this sentence. But I would like pay my tribute to them all.

“They displayed tremendous determination and patience throughout this case, and in behalf of Thames Valley Police I would like my condolences and best wishes to all those affected by the tragedy.”