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Judge gives go-ahead to private prosecution of driver in Michael Mason case

Motorist Gail Purcell pleads not guilty to causing cyclist's death through careless driving...

A judge has said that a private prosecution of a motorist for allegedly causing the death by careless driving of London cyclist Michael Mason can proceed.

Mr Mason, also known as Mick, died in hospital in March 2014, nearly three weeks after the collision on Regent Street involving a Nissan Juke driven by 58-year-old Gail Purcell of St Albans, Hertfordshire.

The 70-year-old, a teacher at Westminster’s Grey Coat Hospital girls’ school, sustained “severe traumatic brain injury” as a result of the crash.

The private prosecution has been brought on behalf of Mr Mason’s family by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF), the first such action it has instigated.

It was launched after the Metropolitan Police Service decided not to press charges, and is funded by donations from the public which have reached almost £64,000 made through the website Just Giving.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court today, Ms Purcell pleaded not guilty to the charge, reports the London Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall.

District judge Kenneth Grant gave the go-ahead for the private prosecution, but said the seriousness of the offence meant it could not be heard at magistrates’ court.

Instead, the case, which has been adjourned until 11 October, will be tried at Southwark Crown Court.

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Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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