Sister loses fight over cycle death

 

The sister of an "enthusiastic and proficient" woman cyclist killed by a lorry has lost her High Court battle for a fresh inquest to investigate "the huge problem" of cycling deaths in London.

A judge ruled he was not satisfied that a new hearing would result in a different verdict.

Eilidh Cairns, 30, a television producer, was riding through London's Notting Hill Gate in morning rush hour traffic on February 5, 2009 when her bike was trapped by a tipper truck.

Seriously injured, she lay under the wheels of the 32-tonne vehicle still conscious and able to talk to witnesses. She was airlifted to hospital but died hours later.

She was one of nine cyclists killed by heavy goods vehicles on London's roads in 2009 - eight of them women.

Anna Morris, appearing for the family, had told the judge: "There was a failure to consider the wider impact of Eilidh's death and the huge problem facing cyclists in London."

An inquest held on January 22 2010 at Westminster Coroner's Court heard that Miss Cairns had been cycling to work from her home in Hampstead Heath.

To her family's dismay, the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Her sister, Kate Cairns, 38, asked Mr Justice Silber, sitting at London's High Court, to quash the verdict and order a fresh inquest, accusing Dr Shirley Radcliffe, Deputy Coroner for Inner West London, of failing in her duty to carry out an adequate investigation, and to consider making recommendations that could prevent similar tragedies in the future.

But the judge rejected the application and said he was "a long way from being satisfied" that a fresh inquest would reach a different verdict.

Describing Miss Cairns as an enthusiastic and proficient cyclist, the judge said a police officer involved in the collision investigation had explained 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 said: "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.

Ms Morris said at a recent hearing that the family's perception was that the inquest was "perfunctory" and the coroner appeared "unwilling" to explore any issues which related to how the truck driven by Portuguese lorry driver Joao Lopes came to collide with Miss Cairns' bike.

She said the coroner had failed to comply with her statutory duties to "fully, fairly and fearlessly" investigate the facts surrounding the incident.

Mr Lopes claimed he did not see Miss Cairns. He later pleaded guilty at Kingston Magistrates' Court to a charge of driving with defective vision. He received three points on his licence and was fined £200.

But at the inquest the coroner drew a line under the questioning as to whether Mr Lopes had made adequate visual checks just before the collision, said Ms Morris.

Dr Radcliffe had been generally unwilling to explore the manner in which the truck was being driven seconds before the accident, she added.

The coroner had also failed to consider whether she could make recommendations under Rule 43 of the Coroners Rules aimed at preventing further accidents.

Kate Cairns, a mother-of-three from Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, said a proper inquest into her sister's death was vital to help stop the growing number of cyclist deaths involving lorries.

She said: "It is a national issue, not just London."

The family has launched a See Me, Save Me campaign for the mandatory installation of cameras and sensors in lorries to eliminate blind spots.

They are calling for action in the European Parliament, with the support of Fiona Hall MEP.

Ms Cairns said: "Clearly it is an issue that needs addressing. Since Eilidh's death there have been 19 other cyclists killed by lorries in the capital - almost half the cyclists killed in London.

"What we want is for the professionals to do their job and carry out a thorough investigation into how Eilidh died.

"For my own peace of mind, I want to know why I have got to live every day without my little sister and why my parents have had to bury their daughter."

Jonathan Hough, appearing for the coroner, argued that Dr Radcliffe had been faced with a type of road traffic accident, in which a cyclist had been killed by an HGV, which was "tragically common".

There was no special feature which had given the coroner reason to think "that it illustrated a systemic problem or that it might call for some specific response".

Mr Hough successfully contended there was nothing in the argument that the coroner had improperly restricted the questioning of Mr Lopes.

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
premier league
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam