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Coventry driver escapes jail after killing cyclist on pedestrian crossing

Defence slapped down by judge for implying cyclist should not have been there

A driver who ran a red light and killed a cyclist who was riding on a pedestrian crossing has escaped jail after being found guilty of causing death by careless driving.

Rouguiatou Fofana was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years at Coventry Crown Court on Friday for causing the death of Craig Mulligan.

According to the Coventry Telegraph’s Daniel Smith and Sam Dimmer, Fofana, 34, was originally charged with causing death by dangerous driving after hitting 34-year-old Mr Mulligan on November 1, 2012.

The court heard that she was travelling at 32-38mph in a 30mph zone and made no attempt to slow down when the lights on the crossing turned red.

Mr Mulligan was hospitalised with severe injuries and died five days later.

Fofana maintained that the lights were green when she drove into Mr Mulligan and has never fomally apolgised.

Ian Crooks, of West Midlands CPS, said: “A prudent and careful driver would have had time to see the victim crossing the road and they would have stopped or swerved in order to avoid colliding with him.

“From police investigation as well as witness statements, it became apparent that Fofana was travelling above the speed limit and when the cyclist came into her vision.

“This situation arose due to the fact that Fofana did not have her full attention on the road at those few seconds before the collision.”

Ben Williams, defending, said: “It’s a fact of the rules of the road that a cyclist should not be using a pedestrian crossing.”

But Judge Phillip Gregory was having none of it. “So what?” he said. “It might have been a child using the crossing and been wiped out by your client.

“I have never seen an expression of regret from her.”

Mr Williams said: “She may not have expressed remorse during the trial but to people known to her and a third party she has expressed remorse.

“She has suffered sleepless nights and cannot get the moment of the collision out of her mind.

“Both the offender and her husband have prayed for the victim and his family.

“She would like to say sorry and seek their forgiveness. She knows an apology would not make up for what happened.”

Handing Fofana a suspended prison sentence, Judge Gregory said the court was not there to “take revenge” on her.

He said: “The court can not do anything to make up for the evil of that night by sentencing you.

“What I am required to do is impart justice for the victim, his family, to you and to society at large.

“On balance I can properly deal with you in the way recommended by the probation service.

“I’m satisfied you feel remorse. By your nature you are a caring and responsible person.”

The court also ordered Fofana to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and meted out a three-year driving ban, plus £2,000 costs.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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