A Sainsbury's lorry driver has admitted killing a cyclist and then driving off after thinking he had struck a deer, a court heard today.

Vincent Cassar, from Basingstoke, claimed he didn't see Stephen Gibbons after his HGV fatally knocked the 61-year-old grandfather off his bike on the A322 Bagshot Road near Bracknell on Saturday, August 4, 2018. 

The 65-year-old man, from Basingstoke, said he thought he had hit a deer and continued driving, only stopping to check his lorry later on. 

Police launched an investigation into a suspected hit-and-run after the cyclist tragically died. 

Cassar, who appeared in court wearing a black suit and tie today, admitted causing death by dangerous driving. 

Judge Paul Dugdale, sitting at Reading Crown Court, told him: “You have pleaded guilty to causing the death of Stephen Gibbons by the careless manner in which you drove the HGV on August 4, 2018.

“That is a serious offence, as you know. You understand and you need to know that it is an offence for which you may well receive a custodial sentence but you are a man in your mid-60s, you are of good character, you have 20 years of clean driving experience driving an HGV for Sainsbury’s.

“You were active in coming forward to the police when you saw the accident had taken place. You stopped to see if you could identify a collision and when you realised it was not a deer and there was a further investigation, you came forward and identified yourself as the person who caused the accident.”

Charles Royle, prosecuting, told the court that several of Mr Gibbons’s family members were intent on attending Cassar’s sentencing hearing at Reading Crown Court.

Mr Royle said: “We would put this in the higher category of careless driving.

“There is a critique of sight lines. This took place about 300 metres after a roundabout leading up to a Sainsbury’s on the left hand side before going into Bracknell town centre. The view would have been about 180 metres.

“It would appear that there was an obstacle in the road which had been seen just before the collision. Reactions were too late to avoid it.

“We say this is an inattention of what is ahead. He came off the motorway at 04.40 in the morning. The collision occurred at 04.42.”

Oliver Renton, defending, said Cassar turned around after he realised what had happened and handed himself into police.

Mr Renton said: “Mr Cassar accepts he did not see the bicycle. He should have seen it. That is the long and the short of it.”

Judge Dugdale adjourned sentencing until February 7 to allow for the compilation of a pre-sentence report.

The judge gave Cassar, of Osborne Close, Basingstoke, unconditional bail and put him on an interim driving disqualification.

Addressing Cassar, Judge Dugdale added: “Just because I have granted you bail, please do not read anything into that. I reiterate it is a serious offence. I know you understand that there is a very real risk of you receiving a prison sentence.“You are inevitably going to be disqualified from driving because of your guilty plea and that disqualification will start from today.”