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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 joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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