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High Court judge rejects Eilidh Cairns' family's call for fresh inquest into her death

Judge expresses sympathy but says he's far from satisfied a different verdict to accidental death would be returned...

A high court judge has rejected an application from the sister of Eilidh Cairns, the cyclist killed by a lorry in London’s Notting Hill in February 2009, to request that a new inquest be held into her death. The BBC reports that the judge ruling on the case said that he was "a long way from being satisfied" that a different verdict to accidental death would be returned.

Portuguese lorry driver Joao Lopes received three penalty points on his licence and was fined £200 after admitting driving with defective vision at the time of the incident that claimed the life of the 30-year-old television producer.

A coroner’s enquiry ruled that Eilidh’s death was accidental, but her sister, Kate Cairns, last month asked the High Court to set that verdict aside and carry out "a thorough investigation into how Eilidh died".

The family had claimed that coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe failed to allow questions regarding whether Lopes had looked around sufficiently before the incident, and that she did not comply with her duty to "fully, fairly and fearlessly" review the circumstances, describing the inquest as "perfunctory".

However, in today’s ruling Mr Justice Silber explained that a police officer who undertook the investigation had said that he was "unaware of anything which could be done to prevent accidents of the kind in which Miss Cairns was tragically killed".

The judge added: "I am conscious that this judgment will be a disappointment to the Cairns family, to whom we all send our deepest sympathy, but my duty is to apply the law, which I have sought to do."

Since her sister’s death, Kate Cairns has launched the See Me Save Me campaign to make it a legal requirement for lorries to be equipped with sensors and cameras to protect vulnerable road users.

Last month, the satirical and investigative magazine Private Eye said that it had received confirmation from the Metropolitan Police that Lopes had also been questioned as the driver of a lorry that struck and killed 97-year-old Nora Gutmann on London’s Marylebone Road in June this year.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc 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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