Crown says accused was on phone and had been drinking, seeks conviction on more serious charge

A cement lorry driver who pleaded guilty to the charge of causing the death of a London cyclist by careless driving is to stand trial for the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving after prosecutors refused to accept his plea due to their believe that he had been drinking and was using his mobile phone at the time of the fatal collision.

The victim, 39-year-old public relations executive Catriona Patel, an experienced cyclist who was training to ride L’Etape du Tour with her husband Asish, was killed in June last year when a lorry driven by Dennis Putz, 51, from Monkton Hadley, Hertfordshire, turned left across her path on Kennington Park Road, close to Oval Tube Station. The incident was caught by CCTV cameras belonging to Lambeth Council, reports the Daily Mail.

Putz admitted causing Mrs Patel’s death by careless driving, saying that he had been using his mobile phone with its hands-free kit when he hit her. However, prosecutors claim that the driver had his phone to his ear at the time of the crash, and also say that he had been drinking.

Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, told Inner London Crown Court that the Crown did not accept Putz’s guilty plea. He added: “'We are abducing toxicology evidence about the amount he had been drinking.”

Judge Peter Grobel granted Putz unconditional bail and fixed the trial date for 8 November this year.

According to the Daily Mail, following her death, Mr Patel described his wife as “a strong cyclist who would think nothing of a 100-mile ride up and down mountains - always with a smile!”

Meanwhile, police in Birmingham have questioned a lorry driver on suspicion of dangerous driving after a cyclist died after being struck by an HGV on Station Road, Stechford, last Thursday afternoon, according to a report in the Birmingham Mail.

Lifeguards from a nearby swimming pool gave the 42-year-old victim, believed to have the first name Peter, emergency first aid immediately after the accident, but he later died from his injuries at the city’s Heartlands Hospital.

One of the lifeguards, Lee Macken, told the newspaper: “We were informed by a member of the public and we went out. I went to get oxygen and first aid. There was a policeman there and he called the ambulance.

“We found the wound and administered first aid and helped the paramedics put him into the ambulance,” he added.

Police said that a 55-year-old man from Burton-on-Trent had been was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and had been granted bail while they continued with their enquiries.

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.