A Wirral motorist accused of causing the death of an elderly cyclist has been cleared by a Liverpool Crown Court jury.

A jury took just 17 minutes to clear James McQuinn of causing the death of 71-year-old David Noble by careless driving.

McQuinn, 32, a father-of-four, of Buckland Drive, Bebington, bowed his head as he was cleared of the charge.

As Judge Gerald Clifton released him from the dock two female supporters in the public gallery wiped away tears.

It had been alleged by the prosecution that his driving had fallen below the standard of a competent and careful driver.

Peter Davies, prosecuting, said that McQuinn was driving south along Poulton Road in Spital, at about 9.50am on October 20 last year, when the accident happened.

The sun was bright and low in the sky and McQuinn, who was driving at a maximum of 35mph on the 60mph road, had his sun visor down and was wearing a peaked cap. A large hedge along the side of the road was creating a big shadow, said Mr Davies.

"He came round Poulton Road and he said, quite frankly, he did not see Mr Noble, the cyclist. There was unfortunately a collision.

“Mr Noble fell to the ground and unfortunately 35 minutes later he was pronounced dead from the injuries he sustained."

Mr Davies said that Mr McQuinn got out of his car and wanted to help.

A farmer who was working in a nearby farmer said he heard a “clattering noise” when he went to investigate, a visibly distressed Mr McQuinn was saying, “I just didn’t see him, I just didn’t see him. The sun blinded me.”

Mr McQuinn told the jury that there was nothing he could have done to avoid hitting Mr Noble.

Mr McQuinn, who is a full-time carer for his one-year-old daughter who has cystic fibrosis, said, “I’ve reflected on this every day.

“As tragic as it is - and I don’t use the road any more - I know there was nothing I could have done.

“I was driving carefully. I was focused. The car was in good condition. The speed clearly was appropriate. I don’t believe there was anything I could have done.

“I believe it was unavoidable. I believe anybody who was coming around the corner in my driver’s position at the time would have had the accident.”

Mr McQuinn told how he had been “dazzled” by the bright sunshine contrasting with a dark shadow from a hedge alongside the road as he drove from his home to his daughter’s school to drop off some trainers for her.

He said he had not seen Mr Noble as he came around a sweeping bend in the road at about 35mph.

“I’ve said before he was invisible to me, that is the best way I can put it.”