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Lorry driver to stand trial for cyclist's death after prosecutors reject guilty plea

Crown says accused was on phone and had been drinking, seeks conviction on more serious charge

A cement lorry driver who pleaded guilty to the charge of causing the death of a London cyclist by careless driving is to stand trial for the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving after prosecutors refused to accept his plea due to their believe that he had been drinking and was using his mobile phone at the time of the fatal collision.

The victim, 39-year-old public relations executive Catriona Patel, an experienced cyclist who was training to ride L’Etape du Tour with her husband Asish, was killed in June last year when a lorry driven by Dennis Putz, 51, from Monkton Hadley, Hertfordshire, turned left across her path on Kennington Park Road, close to Oval Tube Station. The incident was caught by CCTV cameras belonging to Lambeth Council, reports the Daily Mail.

Putz admitted causing Mrs Patel’s death by careless driving, saying that he had been using his mobile phone with its hands-free kit when he hit her. However, prosecutors claim that the driver had his phone to his ear at the time of the crash, and also say that he had been drinking.

Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, told Inner London Crown Court that the Crown did not accept Putz’s guilty plea. He added: “'We are abducing toxicology evidence about the amount he had been drinking.”

Judge Peter Grobel granted Putz unconditional bail and fixed the trial date for 8 November this year.

According to the Daily Mail, following her death, Mr Patel described his wife as “a strong cyclist who would think nothing of a 100-mile ride up and down mountains - always with a smile!”

Meanwhile, police in Birmingham have questioned a lorry driver on suspicion of dangerous driving after a cyclist died after being struck by an HGV on Station Road, Stechford, last Thursday afternoon, according to a report in the Birmingham Mail.

Lifeguards from a nearby swimming pool gave the 42-year-old victim, believed to have the first name Peter, emergency first aid immediately after the accident, but he later died from his injuries at the city’s Heartlands Hospital.

One of the lifeguards, Lee Macken, told the newspaper: “We were informed by a member of the public and we went out. I went to get oxygen and first aid. There was a policeman there and he called the ambulance.

“We found the wound and administered first aid and helped the paramedics put him into the ambulance,” he added.

Police said that a 55-year-old man from Burton-on-Trent had been was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and had been granted bail while they continued with their enquiries.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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fluffy_mike | 13 years ago

Alcohol in his blood and using a mobile phone on CCTV - what jury could not convict?

I think the pessimism in the comments is misguided in this instance - this man will rightly go to jail.

workhard | 13 years ago

but if he gets aquitted of the higher charge the CPS have gone for, and with pro-morotist juries there is every chance he will, then he walks....  14

Simon_MacMichael replied to workhard | 13 years ago
workhard wrote:

but if he gets aquitted of the higher charge the CPS have gone for, and with pro-morotist juries there is every chance he will, then he walks....  14

But the jury would be presumably be directed by the judge that if they felt there was insufficient evidence to convict on causing death by dangerous driving, he could be convicted of the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving - not sure how it all stands legally with CPS rejecting his admission on the latter, however.

Tony Farrelly | 13 years ago

yes, these sorts of story depress me too. It's no comfort to the families of those killed or injured but over the last few years the trend has been downwards and in those parts of the country where the figures have gone up so too has the number of cyclists by an even greater factor, London is a case in point while the number of cycling casualties went up there last year, because there are so many more cyclists on the city's roads statistically it got safer. Not such good news of course if you happened to be one of those casualty statistics.

Zaskar | 13 years ago

I feel sorry for the Man who lost his wife-must be devastated. He must have seen it too as they were out training together.

Driver gets away with using mobile, starts to make a habit of it until they are caught because they have killed someone.


Depresses the hell out mof me reading these articles.
I'd like to the stats of Cyclists being killed each year as it seems to be reported in media-are deaths of cyclist increasing?

Recumbenteer | 13 years ago

If guilty, he deserves a long prison sentence and life-ban.

jobysp | 13 years ago

Unconditional bail:
The court thinks that the defendant is unlikely to commit further offences, will attend court when required and will not interfere with the justice process, they will usually be released on unconditional bail.

Oh to be a killer.

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