A Doncaster man has been jailed for four years and nine months for the manslaughter of former Great Britain cyclist Ray Eden, who was working for Planet-X at the time of his death.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how Eden, aged 42, had attempted to intervene in a heated argument between neighbour Luke Jolly, aged 24, and his girlfriend, asking the pair to have some “respect,” reports the Yorkshire Post.
Jolly punched Eden, who died three days later from head injuries sustained in the incident, which took place at 7.30am on March 18 this year in Moat Croft, Scawthorpe, Doncaster.
Eden’s widow, Gail, told the court that Jolly “is a coward who didn’t have the decency to stop to see if my husband was OK.”
Addressing her husband’s assailant directly, she added: “You have taken not only my husband’s life, but the life of my son Finn and the life we planned together.”
“We were a team and people even used to call us ‘Team Eden’.”
The court also heard a statement from Eden’s son, Finn, who said: “I want to tell the person who took my dad away from me that he has robbed the world of a fantastic person, my dad.
“My dad was everything to me, my dad was brilliant.
“It’s not fair that other children have their parents there when my dad has been taken away from me.
“I miss not being able to talk to him about my day at school. I can’t believe I will never see him again.”
Eden, a former 100-mile national time trial champion who also represented Great Britain in stage races, had been selected for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 but had to withdraw due to inury.
A neighbour described how he had tried to intervene in the argument between Mallett and his girlfriend, who had started renting a house opposite his just six weeks earlier.
The neighbour, a Mrs Swain, stated: “Mr Eden was saying something to the effect of ‘have a bit of respect for the street, there’s no need for any of this’. He was quite calm.”
Faced with abuse, Eden was said to have backed off but, apparently unprovoked, Jolly, who had boxed since he was 12 years of age, punched him and he fell to the ground, unconscious.
Jolly and his girlfriend left the scene in a car while neighbours sought to help Eden, and the court was told that the perpetrator was later overheard in a pub talking about how he could use a claim of self-defence.
Eden died three days later in Doncaster Royal Infirmary from head injuries including a fractured skull.
Jolly was first charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm and claimed that he had acted in self-defence, although he subsequently entered a guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter.
Judge Roger Keen QC said that Eden’s family had displayed dignity, and told Jolly:
“They are in fact the opposite of you, courageous, dignified and decent people and I hope they understand that a court is constrained in sentencing powers and cannot always pass a sentence that a family might like.”
Rachim Singh, speaking for Jolly, said that he was aware of the effect his actions had inflicted on Eden’s family and requested that his guilty plea be taken into account.
She added that her client had not meant to cause serious harm, saying: “It’s hard for him to explain what happened, he was in a state of extreme agitation.”
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.