Driver charged with manslaughter after open car door leads to death of cyclist

Driver of vehicle whose opened door caused Sam Harding to swerve into path of London bus appears before magistrates

by Simon_MacMichael   February 1, 2012  

Metropolitan Police.jpg

A 32-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death on London's Holloway Road of cyclist Sam Harding last August, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.

Mr Harding, aged 25, died after being struck by a bus when he swerved to avoid the open door of a parked car. According a report in the to the Islington Tribune in the week following his death, a 31-year-old motorist was arrested at the scene and bailed to return at a later date.

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed to road.cc that the man charged in connection with Mr Harding's death was the motorist in charge of the parked car.

According to a report on the Cycling Intelligence blog at the time, the door was actually opened by a child who was in the vehicle, although that is unconfirmed.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: "Traffic officers investigating the death of a cyclist in Holloway in August last year have charged a man with manslaughter.

"Kenan Aydogdu, 32 (1/1/80) of no fixed abode appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Corner on Tuesday, 31 January charged with the manslaughter of Samuel Jack Harding, 25, in Holloway Road on 6 August 2011.

"He was remanded on bail to appear at the Old bailey in June 2012 (date to be confirmed).

Aydogdu was arrested at the scene on 6 August and had been on bail pending further enquiries. He returned on Monday, 30 January when he was charged as above."

 

14 user comments

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There must be more to this story.
Seems a heavy handed response from the police for what appears to be a tragic freak accident.

posted by bauchlebastart [84 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 13:36

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Inclined to agree, the implication from the text is that a child flung open the door... so he gets charged with manslaughter just for not engaging the child lock? Doesn't sound right.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2953 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 14:01

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doesn't manslaughter imply a deliberate action, even if on the spur of the moment, rather than an accident or negligence?

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posted by joemmo [779 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 14:09

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How can he have been insured, taxed etc as he had no fixed abode !!

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posted by La Brisa Fresca [44 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 16:28

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Involuntary manslaughter is surley defined as somebody commiting an unlawful act which causes death.

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posted by RhysW [73 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 16:30

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On the face of it it does seem heavy-handed but then he was seemingly in charge of the car. I know I always warned my children about opening doors on either side of the car when I had stopped. They got a bollocking if they so much as moved towards the handle without checking. Who else is to blame other than the driver and how can it be excused as a 'freak accident'? If this is condoned, I can see it becoming an unfortunate precedent were similar incidents to occur.

Chiswick

posted by Chiswick [45 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 16:30

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It's unusual for action like this to be taken for opening a car door. Vehicle occupants often open doors without checking and my own experience of this showed the police to be not remotely interested in following up when I was injured this way, despite the fact an officer was standing metres away when the incident happened.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 17:27

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bauchlebastart wrote:
There must be more to this story.
Seems a heavy handed response from the police for what appears to be a tragic freak accident.

+1, looks like "the child opened the door" is not what actually happened. It pays to be very cautious when overtaking occupied parked vehicles. But the onus is on the person opening the door to ensure they can do so safely.

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
2nd February 2012 - 18:47

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[[[[[[[ Yes,Chiswick...."freak accident"? Maybe, but seemingly caused by the negligence of the ADULT in charge of the vehicle. My wife got knocked off her bike recently by a driver failing to look in a mirror before throwing open the door. Was that a "freak accident" too? I'd say not.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [271 posts]
3rd February 2012 - 5:17

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OldRidgeback wrote:
It's unusual for action like this to be taken for opening a car door. Vehicle occupants often open doors without checking and my own experience of this showed the police to be not remotely interested in following up when I was injured this way, despite the fact an officer was standing metres away when the incident happened.

[[[[[[[[[[ OldRidge...hindsight is a wonderful thing, but in that situation I might have asked the ossifer why he wasn't taking notes. Years ago, I described to a cop how a cabbie had twice swerved into me sideways in an attempt to knock me off, and when I caught up with him stuck in traffic, and asked him wot the phuk he was doing, he told me he didn't like my style of riding, and accelerated away.
So, what did the officer think of this incident? "Doesn't seem to me anything untoward occurred" he opined, stifling a yawn.
This cannot be allowed to continue!
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [271 posts]
3rd February 2012 - 19:42

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Yep, hindsight has its moments. I was in a hurry to get to work.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
3rd February 2012 - 22:57

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RhysW wrote:
Involuntary manslaughter is surley defined as somebody commiting an unlawful act which causes death.

That's right, and the unlawful act in this case was to violate section 105 of the The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986: "No person shall open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person."

posted by MrHappyCyclist [3 posts]
10th February 2012 - 17:48

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I does seem strange that this case should result in a manslaughter charge, whilst the woman in Yorkshire who killed a teenager in a hit and run whilst over the drink-drive limit was charges with causing death by careless driving. Could this chap's (apparently) African name have any bearing on this?

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [115 posts]
16th February 2013 - 15:41

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Grizzerly wrote:
Could this chap's (apparently) African name have any bearing on this?

No.

He couldn't be charged with causing death by careless driving or causing death by dangerous driving because he wasn't driving the car at the time.

The prosecution's case, among other things, was that the tinting he had applied to the windows severely reduced visibility and well below what it should have been.

He was found not guilty.

http://road.cc/content/news/72113-motorist-found-not-guilty-manslaughter...

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7930 posts]
16th February 2013 - 15:50

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