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Barry Meyer ran red light at Holborn, dragged rider along road

The lorry driver who killed cyclist Alan Neve in July 2013 has admitted causing death by careless driving and driving while uninsured and unlicensed.

Barry Meyer was driving a tipper truck through the complex junction at High Holborn, London on July 15 when he hit Alan Neve, dragging him along the road. Meyer admitted jumping a red light before hitting Mr Neve.

Alan Neve sustained "massive head injuries" and died instantly at the scene on 15 July 2013, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

Meyer was charged with “causing death by driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence,” meaning that he did not have a valid licence for the class of lorry he was driving at the time, and with causing death while driving with no insurance.

The court heard that Meyer was trying to keep up with a colleague in another truck when he hit Alan Neve. 

The Evening Standard reports that prosecutor Allison Hunter said: “Had Meyer reacted as a dynamic driver would have been expected to do, he could not fail to have seen Mr Neve.

“It appears clear from what Meyer said in an interview that his focus was upon keeping up with his partner in the vehicle in front.

“Not only had Meyer not turned his head or used his mirrors but he then failed to stop, as his front and rear wheels crushed Mr Neve beneath and dragged him along the road, to shrieks of pedestrians and other road users.”

She said his previous convictions, included two bans for drink-driving, showed a “cavalier lack of respect for driving law and regulations”.

Judge Worsley said Meyer had a “shocking driving history” and would inevitably be jailed on return to court on May 14.

Alan Neve worked for PRS for Music, the organisation that protects musician’s copyrights and collects performance fees, and was on his way the organisation’s office in Berners Street, near Goodge Street when he was killed.

In the weeks before Alan Neve's death, police were enforcing a ban on cyclists using the bus lane on nearby Theobalds Road. As a result cyclists had to use the Holborn junction, described by cycling journalist Andy Waterman as "hellish".

"Motorbikes buzz you, taxis rush red lights to get through and huge trucks obliterate the view," Waterman said.

Meyer's guilty plea came after his crminal history was allowed to be revealed to the court. That record includes:

December 1997: Convicted of drink-driving and disqualified for 18 months.
July 1998: Convicted of driving while disqualified.
December 2004: Convicted of driving a lorry with a dangerous load, and other charges.
May 2007: Convicted of drink-driving and disqualified for 36 months.
July 2007: Convicted of driving a van while disqualified. Given a further 12-month disqualification.
September 2008: Stopped driving a 7.5 tonne lorry while disqualified. Gave a false name. Banned for further 14 months.
Meyer also has previous convictions for assault, criminal damage and drug possession.

Cycling advocates expressed amazement that Meyer was charged with causing death by careless driving rather than the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

Causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment; the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is five years.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

40 comments

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vonhelmet [841 posts] 2 years ago
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Well, he's admitted guilt, so no doubt his sentence will be cut to 5 minutes on the naughty step and no hot drink at bedtime.

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jacknorell [969 posts] 2 years ago
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No licence for the vehicle, no insurance, and ran a light... after being banned 5 times.

The law needs to be changed for freight operators so that if there's no insurance (including company liability insurance) the company retaining the freight operator is then liable for civil damages arising from their hire's actions.

That would bring up the standard very quickly.

May this f-er rot away in prison, truly well deserved.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Five driving bans. Would someone please explain why he hasn't been banned from driving for life?

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IanW1968 [307 posts] 2 years ago
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Very "careless" whats that then, 12 month in clink a 12 month ban, re test and carry on as before?

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Scoob_84 [388 posts] 2 years ago
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So will this 6th driving offence finally stop him killing people?

The justice system is an absolute joke

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Scoob_84 [388 posts] 2 years ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

Five driving bans. Would someone please explain why he hasn't been banned from driving for life?

It would appear that driving bans are an ineffective at stopping bad drivers from working as a driver.

His company should be up for corporate manslaughter as well for allowing this to happen.

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the little onion [157 posts] 2 years ago
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Surely there is a case against his employers for corporate manslaughter? They have an obligation to ensure his license is up to scratch

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vonhelmet [841 posts] 2 years ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

Five driving bans. Would someone please explain why he hasn't been banned from driving for life?

He's already got convictions for driving while banned, so I can't imagine a lifetime ban would be any more of a deterrent to him.

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Das [243 posts] 2 years ago
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Ok so anyone could get banned from driving once, twice may seem like careless attitude but for crying out loud after that its a lifetime ban and a years jail if your caught after that, then the jail sentence doubles every time after that. If hes incapable of abiding by the courts of the land its best hes kept out of harms way at the countries expense, its the safest option.
The guy that assaulted Alan Barnes(disabled OAP from Newcastle) got a 4 year jail sentence for assault. Now im not condoning what happened there, but lets sit back and watch what this guy gets for having absolutely no regard for the law, having been disqualified on no less than 5 different occasions and killing a person who was going about his daily business. My guess will be a 18 months jail, a 10 year driving ban. Which he will be allowed to re apply for after 6, because we live in a nammby pammby do-gooders land.

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gmac101 [170 posts] 2 years ago
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In the late 80's I worked for the DoT entering HGV licences onto their first computerised database. There was about 10 of us, all with data entry terminals tapping the main details from HGV drivers licences into the database. It was more of a computerised card index as a lot of data wasn't entered. We were all temps and hadn't had any experience of the industry and quickly noticed that nearly all the drivers had convictions, to the extent that when we found a licence with none we announced it all the others. Most were for "minor" offences such as overloading or defective vehicles but many of the drivers had long lists of these. I got the impression of an industry that really didn't take anything to do with driving regulations very seriously at all - obviously not much has changed.

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mudshark [43 posts] 2 years ago
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Scoob_84 wrote:

So will this 6th driving offence finally stop him killing people?

Wouldn't that be against his human rights though?

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nevster [9 posts] 2 years ago
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Its sad that there was an alternative, the bus lane, but that had been taken away by the police. The country is cycling mad at the moment but it would seem that the authorities cant, or dont want to, deal with cycling issues; like giving them as much separate space as possible and giving them priority over motorised traffic, as they do in the Netherlands. Yes, the lorry driver was out of order but until the system changes, the problems won't.

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vbvb [619 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm with Nevster on this. The police / bus lane decision is the one deserving a spotlight because you just know they'll be planning some new offensive at the moment called Operation Clawhammer or something aimed at reducing deaths a little by reducing cycling a lot.

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Jem PT [122 posts] 2 years ago
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jacknorell wrote:

No licence for the vehicle, no insurance, and ran a light... after being banned 5 times.

The law needs to be changed for freight operators so that if there's no insurance (including company liability insurance) the company retaining the freight operator is then liable for civil damages arising from their hire's actions.

That would bring up the standard very quickly.

May this f-er rot away in prison, truly well deserved.

Agree.

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DaveE128 [856 posts] 2 years ago
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Surely the company employing the driver it has a responsibility not to be employing someone with no valid licence?

It sounds like the employer would get hit harder for employing someone who doesn't have the right visas than someone without the right driving licence.  102

Something is very wrong in our society.  13

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mrmo [2092 posts] 2 years ago
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who was his employer*? shouldn't they also be in the dock as an accomplice?

* I am assuming he isn't an owner driver with that sort of track record.

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mrmo [2092 posts] 2 years ago
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Das wrote:

My guess will be a 18 months jail, a 10 year driving ban. Which he will be allowed to re apply for after 6, because we live in a nammby pammby do-gooders land.

He will be let back on the road because the jury, the judges are drivers and there by the grace of god go I. Nothing else is relevant.

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atgni [428 posts] 2 years ago
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Probably drove to court.

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Colin Peyresourde [1809 posts] 2 years ago
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Agee with the comments above. I am frankly shocked that he has been allowed to drive with no accreditation (driving or insurance). It certainly makes me think twice about getting near one of these things.

Surely this makes his employer liable for not making the right checks? Corporate manslaughter possibly?! Although he maybe 'contracting' which would possibly let them off the hook - despicable as it would be.

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Hamster [102 posts] 2 years ago
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If we can find the operator employing this chap then come O licence renewal time we write to the local traffic commissioner opposing it. We can also write now to get it on the record that they are "not fit and proper" employers to be using the roads as a workspace.

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atgni [428 posts] 2 years ago
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Das [243 posts] 2 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

who was his employer*? shouldn't they also be in the dock as an accomplice?

* I am assuming he isn't an owner driver with that sort of track record.

Its not fair to blame the employer without knowing what checks were made. As a banned driver its unlikely he bothered returning any licence he had. He maybe even reported his licence lost at some point and used that as proof to his employer that he has/had a licence. Employers have no way of checking a licence is valid. The DVLA wont give out that information due to data protection, and unless hes employed in some kind of security work or with children they'd have no reason to ask for a Disclosure check.

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mrmo [2092 posts] 2 years ago
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Das wrote:
mrmo wrote:

who was his employer*? shouldn't they also be in the dock as an accomplice?

* I am assuming he isn't an owner driver with that sort of track record.

Its not fair to blame the employer without knowing what checks were made. As a banned driver its unlikely he bothered returning any licence he had. He maybe even reported his licence lost at some point and used that as proof to his employer that he has/had a licence. Employers have no way of checking a licence is valid. The DVLA wont give out that information due to data protection, and unless hes employed in some kind of security work or with children they'd have no reason to ask for a Disclosure check.

Every employer I have worked for has demanded to see a licence before they will let you near a company vehicle, and demanded to see the licence at regular intervals there after. Granted it isn't foolproof, but with the drivers history you do have to wonder about the employers attitude.

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jacknorell [969 posts] 2 years ago
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Das wrote:
mrmo wrote:

who was his employer*? shouldn't they also be in the dock as an accomplice?

* I am assuming he isn't an owner driver with that sort of track record.

Its not fair to blame the employer without knowing what checks were made. As a banned driver its unlikely he bothered returning any licence he had. He maybe even reported his licence lost at some point and used that as proof to his employer that he has/had a licence. Employers have no way of checking a licence is valid. The DVLA wont give out that information due to data protection, and unless hes employed in some kind of security work or with children they'd have no reason to ask for a Disclosure check.

BS. DVLA will give out that information as Data Protection doesn't apply around parties who have a legal right to know.

ZipCar will get you, and DVLA, on a conference call to verify you have a valid non-sanctioned licence when you take out a membership.

If they can, an employer can even more easily.

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Duncann [970 posts] 2 years ago
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the little onion wrote:

Surely there is a case against his employers for corporate manslaughter? They have an obligation to ensure his license is up to scratch

Absolutely. If this had happened on-site, the employer would have been for it.

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Wardy74 [42 posts] 2 years ago
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The paper counterpart to driving licences becomes obsolete in June, so any relevant party needing to know you status just needs your photo ID card to find out your convictions. I have signed a form allowing my employer to be notified immediately of any endorsements without me saying anything to them. The systems are in place already, so any employer can and really should check credentials before allowing someone to work for them, even if they are only sub-contracting.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1579 posts] 2 years ago
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nevster wrote:

Its sad that there was an alternative, the bus lane, but that had been taken away by the police. The country is cycling mad at the moment but it would seem that the authorities cant, or dont want to, deal with cycling issues; like giving them as much separate space as possible and giving them priority over motorised traffic, as they do in the Netherlands. Yes, the lorry driver was out of order but until the system changes, the problems won't.

Yeah. And its never just about 'the law' as some sort of absolute - political decisions are constantly made over which laws to enforce. "Cracking down" on cyclists for no obvious purpose appears to be a higher priority than concentrating on enforcing laws that might actually prevent a few deaths.

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dazwan [322 posts] 2 years ago
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Why is accidentally murdering someone in a vehicle not manslaughter? In this case and many others we read about, Manslaughter through Gross Negligence would be quite a fitting charge.

Why does the UK's weapon of choice for murdering people have a special exemption? The law needs changing to ban charging responsibility for deaths on UK roads as dangerous/careless driving and start treating a death/murder as manslaughter. It would be easy to demonstrate a lack of due care and/or negligence in many of these cases. Perhaps if drivers thought there was a real risk of prison if someone died as a result of their driving many would be more careful on the roads.

In my opinion this driver was grossly negligent in his actions and as such should have been charged likewise. Had he been in charge of anything but a motor vehicle he would have been charged with manslaughter and would be potentially facing a life term (which I think would be fitting considering the total disregard for the law and safety of others that he has demonstrated for almost 20 years)

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fatbeggaronabike [849 posts] 2 years ago
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Judge Worsley said Meyer had a “shocking driving history” and would inevitably be jailed on return to court on May 14.

Will he return to court?

Is he not on remand? after killing somebody whilst driving (and I use that term in it's loosest context) uninsured and unlicenced, surely he would have been detained and not allowed to be free to carry on in such a manner.

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vonhelmet [841 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a fair point that it could be argued that it's negligent manslaughter, but please please please can we stop calling it murder? It's not murder. It just isn't.

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