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Trial to take place on June 6

A woman who hit and killed a cyclist in Cholsey in Oxfordshire last year has admitted causing death by careless bdriving. Appearing at Oxford Crown Court, Maria Sutton also admitted lying to police about her car being stolen, but denied being over the drink-driving limit.

The Oxford Times reports that Dr Graham Ruecroft was cycling from Cholsey Railway Station to his home in Wallingford at around 10pm on June 4 when he was hit by a dark-coloured Kia which failed to stop.

He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxofrd but died five days later. Opening an inquest last year, Coroner Darren Salter said he died from brain injuries.

Accused of being double the drink-driving limit, Sutton denied causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit. However, she admitted perverting the course of justice after telling police her car had been stolen at the time of Dr Ruecroft's death.

Sutton faces up to five years in prison for causing death by careless driving, but if convicted of causing death by careless driving while over the drink driving limit, the maximum sentence is 14 years.

The trial will take place on June 6.

The Oxford Mail reports that Ruecroft, a research chemist, co-founded two Oxford firms: Prosonix which researched and developed asthma drugs and inhalers; and Celbius, which researches improved manufacture of pharmaceuticals and biofuels.

He was also a brass band player. Oxford and Cherwell conductor Terry Brotherhood said of him: “He was right at the top of his profession, but he was also just a fabulous bloke. You couldn’t wish to meet somebody nicer.”

NB: This article has been updated since its original publication due to confusion in the source report, which stated that Sutton had also pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, an offence with which she was not charged.

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