Trial opens in relation to death of record-breaking cyclist in January last year

A motorist accused of causing the death through careless driving of record-breaking cyclist Pat Kenny in January last year has told Stafford Crown Court that he did not see the rider and may have been blinded by the sun prior to the fatal incident on the slip road of the A38 at Claymills near Burton-on-Trent.

Andrew Mylrea of Stretton, aged 46 and a chief design engineer at aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce plc in Derby, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge, was reported by This Is Derbyshire to have broken down in court a number of times as he recounted the events leading up to Mr Kenny’s death.

"I'm not for one moment denying I ran over Mr Kenny – I just don't know why I didn't see him,” he said.

“I wasn't doing anything other than the normal driving checks coming up to a junction that has hazards. There were times the sun came into my eyes, but I thought I had taken in the full scene."

The court was told that the father of two had taken the day off work to go shopping at Ikea with his partner and that his BMW’s rear-view mirror could not be used because the purchases they had made were obstructing the view, meaning that he had to rely on his side mirrors instead.

Mylrea added that as he came towards the junction, which was on a route he travelled daily on his way to and from work, the sunlight was flickering and causing some bright flashes.

Defence counsel Mr David Mason QC asked Mylrea whether he had seen Mr Kenny prior to the collision.

"Looking back, there was some brightness, a flash,” he explained. “Whether that was Mr Kenny, I don't know. One minute I am driving along, the next there's an enormous bang."

The jury heard that a breath test had produced a zero result and that it had also been established that he was not using his mobile phone at the time of the incident. The trial continues.

Last week, a motorist convicted at Harrow Crown Court of causing the death last year through careless driving of Group Captain Tom Barrett on the A40 also claimed that he had been blinded by the sun prior to hsi van striking and killing the cyclist.

During a lifetime of cycling, Mr Kenny, aged 72 and from Whittington near Lichfield, had racked up more than 900,000 miles in the saddle and in 1980 set a new record of two days, ten hours and 30 minutes for cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats by tricycle.

At the time of his death on 21 January, the father of three was due to have been in Tunisia to undertake winter training, but his trip was cancelled as a result of the civil unrest then gripping the North African country.

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.