A QUARRY Bank motorist alleged to have been involved in a high speed road race that killed a close friend has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

The prosecution had claimed Dylan Dudgon was behind the wheel of his Audi Quattro and he had been racing 20-year-old Elliott Beddow, from Stourton, who was riding a powerful Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Dudgon accepted he had been speeding as he drove up Brettell Lane but he stressed Mr Beddow had also made the decision to go too fast as they headed towards the Vagabond club in Brierley Hill.

The 42-year-old civil engineer told the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court. "We were independently speeding. It was certainly not a race."

Dudgon, of Victoria Road, had denied causing the death of Mr Beddow by driving dangerously after they had spent time together in The Mitre pub in Stourbridge.

The three-man nine-woman jury retired to consider the evidence for just 47 minutes at the end of a five-day trial before returning their unanimous not guilty verdict.

Before the trial began Dudgon admitted possessing cocaine and ecstasy tablets and for those two offences Judge Michael Challinor fined him £500, as well as ordering him to pay £500 costs - and he warned him he would go to prison for 28 days if he had not paid the fine in full within three months.

Andrew Baker, prosecuting, told the court that when Dudgon pulled over in his Audi after Mr Beddow lost control of his motorcycle and ploughed into railings he was seen by a nearby householder to throw a package into a hedge.

The police were notified and they discovered the package contained the two drugs, drug dealing paraphernalia and Viagra tablets, James Doyle, defending Dudgon said he had not taken any drugs - he had them with him at the time and they were discarded.

It had been alleged during the trial that Dudgon had been travelling at 68mph while his friend was going even faster at 78mph on his motorcycle.

The pair, Mr Baker told the jury, were just six tenths of a second and 60 feet apart before the horrific accident in which Mr Beddow sustained multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

In evidence Dudgon, a father-of-one, said he first became aware of the motorcycle overtaking his car by the sound of the exhaust. The bike went past him and he then saw the machine skid as Mr Beddow lost control. He said: "It spun and there were sparks flying everywhere."

He said he stopped at the scene to let his three passengers out of his Audi and ran straight to Mr Beddow who was on the pavement.

He then ran to his car to get a coat and put it over Mr Beddow and he was then aware he had passed away.