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London cyclist strangled by taxi driver cleared of assault

"Kafka-esque nightmare" over as court praises witnesses who backed bike rider's version of events...

A bike rider charged with assaulting a taxi driver in an incident which left the cyclist himself unconscious after the cabbie apparently strangled him with his own scarf has walked free from court after magistrates said the driver’s evidence was “not credible.”

As reported on in June, Jared Kelly, aged 39, issued an appeal via the London Cyclist blog for witnesses to the incident, which took place in March this year on London’s Oxford Street, to help him in his defence. Word of his predicament quickly spread via cycling websites and Twitter, and was also picked up by the Evening Standard.

Mr Kelly had been riding along Oxford Street, close to the junction with Dean Street, when a black cab cut in front of him, making him collide with the rear of the taxi and causing him to fall of his bike.

In the subsequent heated exchange between the cyclist and the taxi driver, the latter took hold of Mr Kelly’s scarf and strangled him, causing him to lose consciousness and leaving red marks around his neck.

According to one eyewitness, it had been Mr Kelly who had attacked the cab driver, but that witness was unable to attend the hearing at South Western Magistrates’ Court due to being out of the country, and attempts by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to have the case adjourned were rejected.

Instead, the Evening Standard reports, Mr Kelly produced two witnesses, Lee Sattaur, manager at H&M in Oxford Street and Matthew Gowan, a student at Westminster University, who supported his version of events, who were described as “Good Samaritans" for having stepped forward.

"What has finally happened has been utterly remarkable," Mr Kelly told the newspaper. "It’s been fantastic. I couldn’t have done this a year ago or 18 months ago. Everything fell into place."

He described his ordeal as a "Kafka-esque nightmare," saying, "It was all completely surreal. I was strangled until I was unconscious on Oxford Street and the result was I was handcuffed and arrested."

Mr Gowan had been sent away by a policeman as he sought to speak to Mr Kelly following the incident, with the cyclist saying: "He was so moved by what he saw on the day that he got on a bus and wrote pages and pages of notes to remind him," Mr Kelly said.

"Then the following day he went into the police station in Regent Street and reported it. The judge made a special mention about his extraordinary public service."

A CPS spokeswoman admitted to the Evening Standard that the court "didn’t find the victim’s evidence credible".

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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