Driver who killed safety patrol cyclist while on phone before fleeing scene jailed

‘When I received a phone call about my son, I felt like I was going to die,’ says victim’s father

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 03 October 2019 01:03
Reuben Richardson, 38, has been jailed for eight years after killing safety patrol cyclist Antonio Marchesini, 51, in a hit and run collision in Deptford, southeast London, on 3 June, 2018.
Reuben Richardson, 38, has been jailed for eight years after killing safety patrol cyclist Antonio Marchesini, 51, in a hit and run collision in Deptford, southeast London, on 3 June, 2018.

A hit-and-run driver who killed a safety patrol cyclist while on his phone driving the wrong way down a one-way street has been jailed.

Antonio Marchesini, 51, was wearing a high-vis vest while he patrolled a cycle lane to prevent accidents on a road that had only been made one way three months earlier.

He was hit by Reuben Richardson, 38, who drove right over him, crushing his chest and abdomen.

The motorist then accelerated in an attempt to free the trapped bike, before dumping his ex-partner’s silver B-class Mercedes and running away.

Italian-born Mr Marchesini was pronounced dead at the scene in Rolt Street, Deptford, southeast London, less than 45 minutes after the crash.

Woolwich Crown Court heard how the tech worker spoke five languages and spent his spare time volunteering in orphanages for the Red Cross and teaching disadvantaged teenagers foreign languages.

Career criminal Richardson, who was on licence from prison at the time of the crash, was traced to an address nearby after his ex said he was the only one with the car keys.

He gave a false name and after his arrest refused to talk in interview or engage with the probation service.

But mobile phone data confirmed Richardson was on the phone at 4.13pm on 3 June, 2018, when the collision happened.

Footage shown at Woolwich Crown Court during sentencing revealed how Richardson crashed into his victim and kept on driving.

Luciano Marchesini, the victim’s 80-year-old father, said his son graduated with a degree in engineering and moved to London aged 19, where he lived for more than 30 years.

In a victim impact statement, he added: “He supplied medicines to the British Red Cross using his own money. Both Italy and the UK have lost an excellent citizen.

“When I received a phone call from the Italian embassy in London about my son, I felt like I was going to die.

“I don’t know how we can begin to cope with the death. We spoke every day to him on Skype.

“Now we will never hear his voice and only see his face in photographs we have in our home.”

Richardson pleaded guilty in August and was jailed for eight years on Wednesday.

The court heard how he had 13 previous convictions for 21 offences. He has spent the better part of the last decade in prison for robbery and assaults, including the robbery of a cash in transit operator.

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Judge Nicholas Heathcote Williams QC, passing sentence, said: “You deliberately drove dangerously in a way that caused death. You showed complete disregard to the danger caused to others.

"Not only were you driving dangerously, you did so while you were on licence and were driving without a licence and insurance.

“You are a selfish man. The sympathy you claim you feel is shallow. I accept you feel sad, but I suspect you feel sad for yourself as you will be in prison for a very long time.”

Richardson was sentenced to eight years in prison and a further four years on licence, with a possibility for parole at the earliest date of five years and four months. His driving licence will also be revoked.

SWNS contributed to this report.

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