London News & Search
A grieving widower has called for “radical changes” to the law as a cyclist was cleared of manslaughter after he ploughed into his wife as she crossed the street.
Charlie Alliston, then 18, was riding an illegal bike when a fixed-wheel track bike with no front brakes when he crashed into Kim Briggs as she crossed Old Street in London in February last year.
Prosecutors took the unprecedented step of bringing a manslaughter charge due to the unusually grave circumstances of the case, but Alliston was convicted of “wanton and furious driving”.
It carries a maximum 2-year prison sentence.
Outside court, Mrs Briggs’ widower Matthew called for a “radical change” in cycling culture and the introduction of new laws, including causing death by dangerous cycling.
He said: “I am now determined to do what I can to prevent others from going through the heartache we have had to bear following Kim’s needless death.
“We need to radically change some aspects of our cycling culture.
“This is not a witch hunt against all cyclists – I, myself cycle in London – only the irresponsible and reckless.
He added: “We need to change the way the law deals with this.”
The Old Bailey had heard how Alliston had been on his way to buy food for his girlfriend when he crashed into Mrs Briggs during her lunch break.
As she crossed the capital’s Old Street, he twice shouted for her to get out of the way but failed to stop or avoid the head-on collision.
He sprang up and continued to shout at his victim as she lay in the road with catastrophic head injuries.
Alliston criticised Mrs Briggs and claimed she was responsible for the crash in a string of posts on social media in the days that followed.
Jurors heard Alliston’s trendy “fixie” bike was not legal to use on the road without being modified to add a front brake.
He bought the £700 Planet X bike second-hand for £470 in January last year, telling the vendor he wanted to use it for track cycling.
Crash investigators who studied CCTV of the incident concluded Alliston would have been able to stop and avoid the collision if the bike had been fitted with a front brake.
Mr Briggs, from Lewisham, south London, sat in court throughout the trial, during which the CCTV footage of the crash was played several times.
In a statement read in court, he paid tribute to his “wonderful” wife, saying: “She was quick to smile, slow to judge and even slower to anger.”
Lawyer Keith Barrett, of Fieldfisher law firm, said he was pursuing a civil claim on behalf of the Briggs family, adding: “I hope that the spotlight on this trial will encourage courier companies and others to insist that their agents are full insured, as they would a car or van driver, in the event they seriously injure or kill someone on the roads.”
London News & Search