A lorry driver who hit and killed a cyclist at Ludgate Circus on April 3 last year has been spared jail by an Old Bailey judge. 54-year-old John Green, who hit Spaniard Victor Rodriguez in his 32-ton truck after making a late decision to turn left, was found guilty of causing death by careless driving.
32-year-old Rodriguez had come to London from Spain to learn English and was on his way back from a job interview at around 10am when the collision occurred. He was the first of two cyclists to die as a result of crashes at Ludgate Circus in 2014. In October, Janina Gehlau died after being crushed by a tipper truck. The junction is earmarked for improvement as part of the north-south Cycle Superhighway.
London24 reports that Rodriguez had been cycling down Fleet Street towards Ludgate Circus and was telling his girlfriend about the interview on his hands-free mobile phone. As the lorry driver waited at the Ludgate Circus lights, he cycled down the nearside of the vehicle into the junction’s cycle lane. Green – who denied causing death by careless driving – turned left and collided with the cyclist, who was riding straight on towards St Paul’s.
The court heard that Green was alerted to the incident by the screams of pedestrians. London Ambulance Service pronounced Rodriguez dead at the scene.
Prosecutor Kenneth Millett told the court:
“We suggest that if Mr Green had looked in his mirrors immediately before or at the time he made the decision to turn left he would have clearly seen Mr Rodriguez and then not made his manoeuvre of turning left. Although Mr Green was to insist in interview he checked his mirrors, in fact he had not done so.”
Green said he didn’t see Rodriguez in his mirrors; that if he had seen him he wouldn’t have made the turn. Asked why he didn’t see him, he replied: “I scanned the mirrors, I never seen the man.”
Green was convicted of causing death by careless driving. He received a 12-month driving ban and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Sentencing, Judge Charles Wide, QC, said:
"The sadness and tragedy of what happened has hung over this trial and everyone involved with it throughout has been truly conscious of the loss that his family have suffered, and indeed all those who knew him.
"It has been right in the forefront of everybody's minds, although during the case we have had to focus in quite a technical legal way on the issue of Mr Green's driving.
"The fact that we have had to do that does not mean that anyone has forgotten what his family and friends have been through."
Wide continued by saying: "I'm very conscious, as all judges are, that no sentence I can pass can bring a victim back. There's no way of making reparation or compensation through the sentence for your loss, and it's very important to understand that a sentence passed in a case like this does not in any way seek to equate or make equivalence to the value of the life."