The widow of a cyclist killed by a Crossrail lorry in November 2013 is now considering civil action for damages after the driver was found not guilty of causing death by careless driving. She has also pleaded for safety improvements to prevent “another family being destroyed”.
The London Evening Standard reports that Anthony Howsego has been found not guilty of causing the death by careless driving of Brian Holt, 62. The hospital porter was one of six cyclists killed in London during a two-week period in November 2013.
It is believed that Holt was walking his bike across a pelican crossing between two lorries which were stalled in traffic on Mile End Road when he was run over by a 38-tonne vehicle driven by Howsego. Wood Green Crown Court heard that the lorry killed Holt instantly, but dragged him up to 78-metres down the road. Howsego had not felt the impact and only stopped after bystanders attracted his attention.
Howsego admitted that he did not check his “Class VI” mirror which is fitted to heavy vehicles to allow the driver, seated high up, to see immediately below in front.
Martyn Bowyer, prosecuting, said:
“The prosecution suggests that, given the mirrors that were fitted to the defendant’s lorry, if he had been paying attention, and paying due care and attention, he would have seen Mr Holt in front of his lorry.
“A tragic accident as it may be, the defendant holds some criminal responsibility, because his standard of driving fell below the standard expected. He failed to check that Class VI mirror. In fact, by being partially on the crossing he had breached the Highway Code.
“The last check he should have carried out would be to see what was in front him. But the reality is he didn’t check the Class VI mirror. He accepts that.”
The court also heard that the mirror was so filthy as to be virtually unusable.
Howsego’s legal team disagreed that the Class VI mirror was a necessary and final check and argued that the driver was under a greater duty to look in a side mirror. It was also said that the Class VI may not even have revealed Holt crossing.
Howsego had been driving for Crossrail contractor GF Gordon Plant Hire at the time and Mrs Holt is now considering civil action against the firm. Another of the firm’s vehicles was involved in the death of Claire Hitier-Abadie in February of this year.