Court hears of rider killed yards from home as cars raced over dog dispute

The Old Bailey has heard how a London cyclist was killed just yards from his home after being hit by a car traveling at up to twice the speed limit whose driver was involved in a dispute over the price of a rottweiler with occupants of a second vehicle involved in the incident.

Graham Thwaites, aged 51, who worked in the City of London as an administrator for Lloyds TSB, died from his injuries in September 2008 after being hit by a Mitsubishi Shogun driven by 35-year-old Andrew Carlisle on Leesons Hill, Orpington, reports the Press Association.

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey that the vehicle was “completely out of control” at the time of the fatal collision, and that it was being pursued, and was rammed twice, by a Vauxhall Vectra containing William Dennard, 24, David Cook, 24, George Webb 27, and Shane Webb, 24.

He added that there was “great deal of animosity" between Carlisle and the four occupants of the Astra, apparently arising from a dispute over the cost of a rottweiler. All five are on trial for manslaughter and causing death by dangerous driving, with prosecutors saying that they are all responsible for Mr Thwaites’ death, whether as a result of their driving or through encouragement.

According to Mr Heywood, the two vehicles were driven for three quarters of a mile along the residential road, where the speed limit is 30mph, at up to 60mph. “They jostled for position in the road,” he said. “They paid no heed to other users of the road. They were interested only in their own immediate purpose. Those in the second car drove so hard and in such a way that the front of their own vehicle hit the back of the one they were following. They hit that car not once but twice over that short distance of three-quarters of a mile."

Mr Heywood continued: "All of this ended, as it was bound to end, in tragedy. It ended in death - but not for them. The man who died didn't know them. He had never heard of any of them. He knew nothing of their fight or petty grievances. It is probable that he didn't even see them coming. He was riding properly, he was dressed properly and, what's more, he was just yards from home."

The trial resumes today.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.