The coach driver who killed London cyclist Karla Roman when he turned left across her path has been jailed for 15 months for causing her death by careless driving, reports the London Evening Standard. The court heard that Barry Northcott, who denied the charges, only learnt that he had run her over when a passenger told him what had happened.
Roman, aged 32 and originally from Brazil, died from "catastrophic injuries" following the collision on Whitechapel Road on February 6, 2017.
She had been riding ahead of Northcott’s coach and would have been visible for 16 seconds, the jury heard.
CCTV footage revealed that Northcott illegally entered an advanced stop line – also known as a ‘bike box’ – at a junction. When interviewed by police, he admitted that he did this regularly to avoid being “swarmed by cyclists.”
Prosecutor Harpreet Sandu said: "The defendant began a left-hand turn and into the path that Karla Roman was on, he did not see her in the mirrors as he turned because he was not paying attention.
"He did not see her in the mirrors as he continued to turn as he was not paying attention, and when he made that left-hand turn into her path, his coach collided with her and ended up dragging her with her bike under the wheels of the coach."
Sentencing, Judge Christopher Kinch QC said: "It may be frustrating to see cyclists – swarming or otherwise – pulling in front at junctions.
"But the box is the device placed there to protect vulnerable cyclists from the consequences of not being seen as traffic pulls away.
"Motorists simply have to accept that, and it is not open to them to decide when and where they may ignore that rule."
Following the conviction, Roman’s family echoed the judge’s words, saying: "We feel Karla was let down by the driver of the coach when he disregarded the cycle box, which resulted in this fatal incident. We would appeal to any drivers reading this to think about your actions and respect the cycle box."
Northcott’s barrister, Harry Bentley, said the coach driver was "desperately sorry" for Roman's death “and at times he has considered ending his own life because of it."
As well as the jail sentence, Northcott was banned from driving for five years and 30 weeks.