A CHESTER man has been jailed for two years for causing the death of a motorcyclist by dangerous driving.

Hayden-Lee Gibson, 23, of Cedar Grove, had earlier pleaded guilty to causing the death of 48-year-old experienced biker Christopher Rimell, following a head-on collision in November 23, 2020.

In a packed Chester Crown Court room on Thursday, January 13, where friends and family of Gibson and Mr Rimell were in attendance, Judge Simon Berkson said only an immediate custodial term was appropriate for what the court heard was a "terrible error of judgment" when overtaking.

Prosecuting, Simon Parry said Christopher Rimell, a "loving husband, father and grandfather", worked with his wife Petra at the Countess of Chester Hospital.


Christopher Rimell, from Flintshire, worked as a porter at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Christopher Rimell, from Flintshire, worked as a porter at the Countess of Chester Hospital.


A motorcyclist since the age of 16, the Flintshire resident left the hospital with his wife on November 23, 2020, at the end of their work shifts. He was heading home on his Yamaha motorcycle, his wife following in a car.

He was riding on the A540 Parkgate Road in the Neston-bound lane, with his headlights on as it was dark.

Gibson was travelling in the oncoming direction on the 50mph, single-carriageway road in a red VW Golf, and was behind a blue car.

He pulled out to check if the oncoming road was clear, and could see lights in the distance. He believed he had sufficient time, but he pulled back in behind the blue car before then deciding to pull out a second time.

CCTV footage from a nearby house, which was played to the barristers and the judge in private prior to the hearing, showed Gibson was alongside the blue car, mid-overtake, when he was in a head-on collision with Mr Rimell's motorbike.

Mr Parry said Mr Rimell had "absolutely no time or space" to avoid the collision.

Mr Rimell was taken to Aintree Hospital but sadly died of his severe injuries at 11.30pm that night.

Gibson was interviewed and said there was no illuminated headlight coming from the motorcycle, but said he was remorseful for the collision.

CCTV footage showed Mr Rimell's bike's headlight was illuminated.

A victim statement from Mr Rimell's wife said Mr Rimell was "such a careful and responsible rider".

On the night of the collision, she had been caught in the traffic queue on the A540, and was diverted elsewhere. She said she had not realised how close she had been to the scene of the accident where her husband was.

When she got home, she was met by two police officers and she said: "That was when my life changed forever".

She said she could not put into words the "pain, despair and shock" she felt as her "world crumbled in the blink of an eye" at the loss of her husband and soulmate.

The couple had been looking forward to a delayed honeymoon and the arrival of more grandchildren.

The financial implications became apparent as Mr Rimell's wife Petra was forced to leave their home as she could not afford the rent alone.

She had been unable to work and became hospitalised with stress, and 10 months after the fatal incident, she still felt "numb".

She added she felt as though a piece of her had died that night and she missed her husband terribly.

The court heard there was no evidence of anyone speeding at the time of the collision, and Gibson was not under the influence of either drink or drugs.

He had no driving matters on his record, and no previous convictions other than a caution for a dissimilar offence.

Defending, Mark Connor said a pre-sentence report and three letters had been submitted to the court. One was a letter from Gibson, one from his partner and one from a family friend.

He said Gibson made a "terrible error of judgment that night", something that he would live with for the rest of his life.

Gibson took full responsibility and his remorse was "absolute and genuine", with the submitted letter expressing "genuine remorse and sincere condolences and apologies", although he was "acutely aware" that his "remorse and sorrow" could not turn back the clock of what had happened.

The "one moment of bad judgment" he had pored over so many times, as that evening he had been allowed to leave work a few minutes early, and in hindsight he wishes he could have just stayed longer.

The court heard Gibson was someone held "in high regard" and had "a gentle soul", with his partner expecting their child in July.

Mr Connor added: "It is often said there are no winners in cases like these, truly tragic for all concerned."

Judge Berkson told Gibson: "For some reason you decided you were not going as fast as you wanted to. The road is a 50mph limit at that point.

"Although you could see vehicle lights, your impatience made you decide to carry out an overtaking manoeuvre.

"At the point where you were alongside the blue car, a collision was inevitable."

He added the case could only be described as tragic, and Mr Rimell's wife had provided a "moving" victim statement.

The judge said Gibson had been remorseful from the moment he was spoken to, and was a man with no previous convictions and a good driving record.

Gibson was sentenced to two years in jail. Upon his release, he will be subjected to a two-year driving ban, and must pass an extended retest to obtain his licence.