A man who caused the death of a popular headteacher at a Hexham special educational needs school has escaped an immediate jail sentence.

At Newcastle Crown Court on June 3, Steven Armstrong (64) of Tudor Road, North Shields, was given a 6-month prison term suspended for 18 months after pleading guilty to causing the death of former Hexham Priory school headteacher Michael Thompson by careless driving at an earlier hearing.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years.

Mr Thompson, who was headteacher at the Hexham School for 23 years, was killed last April when he was out cycling on Billy Mill Avenue in North Shields.

The court heard that Armstrong did not see Mr Thompson approaching, and his bicycle collided with the car. Mr Thompson, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, was thrown over the handlebars and hit his head off the road, later dying from his injuries.

In addition, Armstrong was made the order of a four month curfew between 9pm and 6am at his address in North Shields, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge.