A 22-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for causing the death of former Great Britain cyclist David Hitchen.

Leighton Santos, of Tonge Moor Road, Bolton, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court following a collision in September 2014 which killed Mr Hitchen.

Santos was riding a Yamaha motorbike on Rivington Road, near Darwen, when the vehicle drifted into the opposite carriageway and collided with Mr Hitchen.

The dad-of-one, who had moved from Haresfinch to Billinge shortly before the incident, suffered serious injuries and was later pronounced dead at hospital.

Following an investigation, Santos - who suffered serious facial injuries in the collision - was arrested by police and summonsed to appear at court on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

While the 22-year-old claimed his innocence throughout, arguing a second cyclist in his lane forced him to swerve into the opposite carriageway, he pleaded guilty to the offence on the first day of trial on Monday.

As part of the hearing, Santos was also sentenced for a dangerous driving offence committed in Manchester in March.

After failing to stop for police, Santos started an eight mile pursuit, reaching speeds of 90mph in a 30mph zone.

He was subsequently found guilty of the offence at Manchester Crown Court, but sentencing was deferred until the conclusion of this week’s trial.

At Preston Crown Court the judge sentenced Santos for both offences, with the 22-year-old jailed for a total of 18 months.

He was also banned from driving for three years and nine months, at the end of which he will have to complete an extended driving test.

Sgt Claire Pearson, of Lancashire Police’s Roads Policing Team, said: “This was a tragic case and my thoughts remain with Mr Hitchen’s family.

“The actions of Leighton Santos left a devastating impact. He lost control of his motorbike and his carelessness led to Mr Hitchen’s death.

“His refusal to admit his guilt until the first day of trial was particularly shameful and he could have saved the victim’s family further anguish and distress.

"My colleagues and I regularly witness the effect the actions of reckless motorists can have on the families of victims. It is heart-breaking.

“I hope this sentence gives closure to the family in terms of the criminal investigation and helps them adjust to life without David.”