A FORMER police officer accused of causing the death of cyclist by careless driving was not aware of his actions, it has been claimed.

It comes after cyclist Stephen Turner died at the scene of the collision on the A31 near Four Marks on November 18, 2016.

Winchester Crown Court heard from the prosecution Mr Turner would have been visible to motorists around 20 seconds before he was fatally hit by 64-year-old Brian Cole's Peugeot 207 on the A31 Alton Bypass, at around 5.45pm.

Cole, who has Parkinson's disease, is accused of causing his death of through careless driving while over the prescribed limit of methamphetamine, a by-product of his medication.

The jury heard at the start of a three-week trial Cole, of Pine Road, Four Marks, had a level of 13mg per litre of blood, when the legal limit is 10mg.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Tom Wright said: "It's likely a motorist would have been able to see the cyclist," adding he would have been visible for "about 20 seconds or so" prior to the collision.

He said although there was no street lighting, Mr Turner had lights on his bike, and added the jury would hear from a witness who had been driving behind Cole at around 70mph on the eastbound carriageway when he "narrowly avoided colliding" with a car he was overtaking prior to the fatal crash.

Following the crash, Cole's car was found overturned on the side of the road, with witnesses claiming he had been "saying some strange things".

Mr Wright added: "A competent and careful driver would not have collided with a brightly clothed cyclist visible from hundreds of yards away.

"Whatever the reason for the poor driving, the test [for careless driving] is the same."

However, defence barrister Nicholas Tucker argued Cole had been in a state of "automatism", meaning "he was not aware of what he was doing".

Mr Tucker added: "He hadn't been advised by his doctors that it was unsafe to drive.

"Cole did not brake or take evasive action. His behaviour in the aftermath was bizarre. These facts could be explained by side effects of his medication.

"Cole did nothing wrong... This was a terrible accident."

Cole denied one count of causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit. The trial continues.