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HomeFarming NewsFarm worker convicted after cyclist left brain damaged by loose straw bales
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farm worker convicted after cyclist left brain damaged by loose straw bales

A farm worker has been convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after failing to secure a load of straw bales which fell onto a cyclist causing him brain damage.

Matthew Shapcott, 40, from Silverton, was convicted on Tuesday, January 12th, after entering a guilty plea at Exeter Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 140 hours unpaid work.


On August 2nd, 2019, Shapcott loaded a trailer with the huge straw bales and failed to secure them to the trailer, despite having ratchet straps in the vehicle.

While driving along a road in Netherexe, near Exeter, one of the bales fell from the trailer striking a passing male cyclist who suffered significant, life-changing injuries as a result.

The 69-year-old man suffered a bleed on the brain and was in a coma for 13 days. He sustained numerous other injuries including two fractures to his spine.

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The court heard will never recover from the brain damage which has caused partial blindness.

‘Incident was entirely avoidable’

Motor Patrol Constable Hamilton-Schaschke, said: “This devastating incident was all entirely avoidable if Shapcott had simply secured the load.”

“The victim’s quality of life and independence has been severely impaired.”

“Shapcott’s lax attitude to what was a simple but essential safety measure has had a catastrophic impact upon the victim who has been robbed of what should have been a relaxing retirement.

“This incident should serve as a reminder to motorists to ensure they secure their loads, whatever it is they are transporting, wherever they are going, when travelling on public roads, so tragedies such as this are avoided.”

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