Simon MacMichael September 18 2017
Charlie Alliston, the cyclist convicted last month of causing bodily harm through wanton and furious driving in conneection with the death of pedestrian Kim Briggs, has been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment in a young offenders institution.
The 20-year-old from Bermondsey was cleared at his trial at the Old Bailey last month of manslaughter, but the jury found him guilty on the second charge, which has a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.
Mrs Briggs, aged 44, died in hospital from head injuries sustained when she and Alliston were involved in a collision as she crossed London’s Old Street in February last year.
Alliston had been riding a fixed wheel bike with no front brake, meaning it was not legal for use on the road.
Sentencing him today, Judge Wendy Jospeph QC told Alliston that she believed he rode the bike for a “thrill,” reports the London Evening Standard.
She said: “I am satisfied in some part it was this so-called thrill that motivated you to ride without a front brake shouting and swearing at pedestrians to get out of the way.
“I’ve heard your evidence and I have no doubt that even now you remain obstinately sure of yourself and your own abilities.
“I have no doubt you are wrong in this. You were an accident waiting to happen.
“The victim could have been any pedestrian. It was in fact Mrs Kim Briggs.”
She continued: “If your bicycle had a front wheel brake you could have stopped but on this illegal bike you could not and on your evidence, by this stage, you were not even trying to slow or stop.
“You expected her to get out of the way,” the judge added.
Speaking in mitigation on behalf of Alliston, Mark Wyeth QC said: “What we do not have is a callous young man who doesn’t give a damn about anything.”
He added: “There is within him, I respectfully submit, a lot of internal sense of emotional turmoil but keeps this hidden as a coping strategy.”
The court heard Alliston was depressed, had broken up with his girlfriend and lost his job.
After Alliston was sentenced Mrs Briggs’ husband Matthew, who has called for careless or dangerous cyclists to be subject to the same laws as motorists, said: “I would like to thank the judge Wendy Joseph for her comments this morning.
“This case has clearly demonstrated that there is a gap in the law when it comes to dealing with causing death or serious injury by dangerous cycling.
“To have to rely on either manslaughter at one end, or a Victorian law that doesn’t even mention causing death at the other end tells us that there is a gap. The fact that what happened to Kim is rare is not a reason for there to be no remedy.”
He continued: “I am pleased to say that we have made very good progress towards updating the law and I would like to thank the media, the public, my MP Heidi Alexander and also the transport minister for their support and commitment to resolving this matter.
“I would also like to use this opportunity to call on bike retailers and courier companies to help me get fixed wheeled and velodrome bikes without front brakes off the road.
“Whilst I would commend the five major retailers who have withdrawn products or altered their websites in response to my calls, I am still seeing too many retailers irresponsibly advertising these bikes.”
“The vast majority of people I see riding these bikes are couriers. I would call on these companies to help me get these bikes off the road.”
He added: “They are illegal and as we have seen with Kim’s death, they are potentially lethal.”