A lorry driver who killed a cyclist near Oval tube station last June has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and has been banned from driving for life.
Catriona Patel, a 39-year-old public relations executive, was in training to ride L’Etape du Tour with her husband Asish when she was killed after a lorry driven by Dennis Putz, 51, from Monkton Hadley, Hertfordshire, turned left across her path on Kennington Park Road, near Oval Tube Station.
Earlier this year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) rejected a guilty plea from Putz to the charge of causing death by careless driving, insisting that he instead be tried for the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving due to suspicions that he had been drinking and was using a mobile phone at the time of the fatal crash.
That decision appears to have been vindicated by today’s sentence, confirmed to road.cc by an official at Inner London Crown Court where the trial was held, although it should be pointed out that it is only half the maximum 14 years’ sentence provided by law for that offence.
The Streatham Guardian reported that during the trial it was disclosed that Putz had previously been disqualified 20 times as well as three convictions for drink driving and three convictions for reckless driving - extraordinary figures, and ones which we'll be seking clarification on regarding why he was still allowed to drive at the time Mrs Patel was killed.
Detective Constable Tony Tobin, the senior investigating officer, commented: "Our thoughts are with Catriona's husband and the rest of her family as they have to deal with her loss every day.
"Dennis Putz started driving a large tipper truck that day still 1.5 times the legal drink drive limit. He was also using a mobile telephone as he hit Catriona.
"The combination of the size of vehicle, drink and phone came together to produce such tragic consequences."
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Chalmers of the Road Death Investigation Unit, added: "Dennis Putz ignored the duty of care he had to other road users, which resulted in the tragic death of this young woman.
"The Met takes this sort of crime seriously and the Traffic department now has some of London's most experienced detectives investigating fatal road collisions.
"If someone dies on one of the capital's roads as a result of dangerous driving the investigation will be thorough, professional and relentless."
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.