Woman's not guilty plea in cyclist death case

Rider died after being struck at roundabout near Swindon

by Mark Appleton   February 14, 2011  

Gavel

A woman charged with causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving is to stand trial at Swindon Crown Court after she entered a not guilty plea at a plea and case management hearing on Friday.

The Swindon Advertiser reports that Sarah Williams, 45, of Orpington in Kent was at the wheel of a horsebox which is said to have been in collision with 23-year-old Andrew Drinkwater on the southbound slip road of the A419 near Swindon.

Mr Drinkwater, a roofer, is thought to have been struck by other vehicles after being knocked off his bike in the incident which happened at 9.30pm on April 9 last year.

On hearing Ms Williams had entered a not guilty plea, Judge Euan Ambrose adjourned the case until February 25, for a further pre-trial hearing, with April 18 provisionally set as the date for the Crown Court trial in Swindon.

 

8 user comments

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Jeez how the hell is she not guilty of careless driving? 9 times out of 10 it's the driver's fault.

posted by Karbon Kev [655 posts]
14th February 2011 - 13:37

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Karbon Kev wrote:
Jeez how the hell is she not guilty of careless driving? 9 times out of 10 it's the driver's fault.

Well obviously we dont know the specifics of the case but it could be she is not guilty of death by dangerous driving as the rider was struck by other vehicles after the initial incident. She might not even be guilty of dangerous driving, afteral she could be that 1-of-10?

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posted by STATO [405 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:00

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Err, we really need to wait for this trial to take place before getting too far into the rights and wrongs of the case. What we are trying to do here at road.cc is bring these cases to a wider audience in order to cast a spotlight on prosecuting and sentencing patterns and procedures.

Our contention is that there is insufficient deterrence provided by the judiciary to drivers who have not yet caught up with the fact that they now share the roads with LOTS of cyclists and should drive accordingly.

We also feel that there is too great a tendency for prosecutors to go with 'careless' rather than 'dangerous' charges, so in general KK we agree that poor driving which results in death is self-evidently dangerous, but as per Stato's post, at the moment we don't know the full details of this case

posted by Mark Appleton [554 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:22

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Karbon Kev wrote:
Jeez how the hell is she not guilty of careless driving? 9 times out of 10 it's the driver's fault.

Because she is innocent until proven guilty.

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posted by neildmoss [165 posts]
14th February 2011 - 14:30

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"Death by careless driving" seems quite a difficult charge to get to stick. It isn't a common sense thing. There seem to be legal niceties to "Death by careless driving" that can quite easily reduce it to a lesser charge.

So while you or I might feel that she was driving and she must have been at least a little careless to kill someone, this is not how it works in law.

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posted by vorsprung [273 posts]
14th February 2011 - 16:40

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Why does it take so long? April 9th last year adjourned until feb 25th! The incident is hardly going to be fresh in any possible witnesses memory.

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [222 posts]
14th February 2011 - 22:26

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I have money on the CPS getting cold getting cold feet and reducing the charge

posted by mrchrispy [270 posts]
15th February 2011 - 12:32

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Like Mark Appleton says, we don't know the details of the case and if we did and commented on the evidence we could face prison for subjudice.

However, there was a case where a driver was charged with the death of a cyclist in Coventry as he drove onto the pavement to hit him (from memory). Obviously in that case witnesses must have come forward.

Note to road.cc - can you disable comments on contentious articles like this?

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [275 posts]
15th February 2011 - 18:06

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