AN 81-YEAR old who denied causing a horror smash that killed a motorcyclist, has been spared jail.

Brian Short, of Shotover Corner, Faringdon, went to trial earlier this month after he was charged with one count of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

Oxford Magistrates' Court found him guilty of causing the crash at Little Faringdon on January 25 which left 75-year old Rodney Williams dead from 'multiple injuries'.

Mr Williams' friends and family were at Oxford Crown Court for the sentencing hearing today which heard how Short, in his Mercedes-Benz GLA, arrived at an un-named junction off a rural road with the A361 at about 11.30am.

Stopping at the junction, prosecutor Jonathan Stone told the court, Short began to creep out on to the main road when a line of cars with a motorcycle driven by Mr Williams at the front came towards him from his right.

Eye-witnesses described seeing 'a cloud of debris' as Mr Williams' Triumph Tiger motorcycle ploughed straight in to the side of the car driven by Short.

Despite efforts by police to save Mr Williams he died at the scene of the crash.

Janet Williams, Mr Williams' wife, read out an impassioned victim personal statement to the court and said: "He was an extraordinary man.

"He was a massive personality, he was fun, zany and totally un-politically correct."

Speaking of Short's decision to go to trial and deny his guilt she said it was an 'outrage' and had left her family upset.

In mitigation at the hearing his defence barrister Lyall Thompson said that his client wanted to 'express his condolences to the family' at what had happened.

He added that despite the plea of not guilty before magistrates Short had since shown 'remorse and regret' and said that the accident had been down to 'momentary inattention.'

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle QC disagreed and said: "To fail to see at all that motorcycle was more than just momentary inattention.

"That motorcycle must have been in your sight for at least four seconds, and maybe considerably longer and you just didn't see it at all.

"You have led a blameless life, you have driven without even an endorsement for over 50 years, you are a dedicated grandfather yourself and you sadly lost your wife some six years ago and live on your own. I have taken into account all these matters."

Short was given a nine-month jail term, suspended for two years and disqualified from driving for 15 months, and must pay a victim surcharge.