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Fuel tanker driver receives six-month suspended sentence for causing death of cyclist by careless driving

Richard Hardcastle admitted killing 22-year-old physiotherapist Anna Garratt-Quinton as he attempted a left turn at a roundabout in Cambridge

A fuel tanker driver who fatally struck a cyclist while turning left at a roundabout has received a six-month suspended prison sentence.

Richard Hardcastle admitted causing the death of Anna Garratt-Quinton by careless driving at a roundabout in Cambridge, near the hospital where the 22-year-old physiotherapist worked, on 7 October 2021 as he attempted a left turn.

Prosecutor Mouzam Razaq told Peterborough Magistrates' Court that Hardcastle, an HGV driver with seven years' experience, had been travelling behind the cyclist and police believe she was going straight at the roundabout.

> "The kindest soul" – Family pay tribute to cyclist killed in Cambridge yesterday

Ms Garratt-Quinton was hit and declared dead at the scene, with the judge, Ken Sheraton, saying there had been a "period of some seconds when Mr Hardcastle should have been aware" of the rider.

At sentencing, along with the six-month suspended sentence, Hardcastle was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from driving for two years, the judge acknowledging that he had no previous convictions, does not plan to return to HGV driving and showed "obvious remorse".

"One of the kindest and most caring souls"

The court heard numerous victim impact statements, including emotional accounts from Ms Garratt-Quinton's aunt on behalf of her mother Sally, hospital colleagues and partner of four years.

The cyclist's mother said it was "hard to convey here in a few words how special she was... I know all parents think their children are special, but the mark Anna made in her short 22 years of life are borne out in the tributes to her".

Ms Garratt-Quinton's partner of four years, Jordan Hemsil, said "she made my life better just by being in it", while colleagues described being "devastated" and called their fellow hospital worker "one of the kindest and most caring souls I was fortunate enough to have known and worked with".

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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19 comments

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steaders1 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Yet another slap on the wrist sentence. When will the courts start handing out sentences that act as deterrents? How many cyclists need to be killed before enough is enough?

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wtjs replied to steaders1 | 1 year ago
1 like

How many cyclists need to be killed before enough is enough?

Well, according to the Panorama Road Rage episode, 2 per week is clearly not enough

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Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
11 likes

But on the extremely rare occasion that a cyclist is involved in a pedestrian death, they nearly always get a jail sentence that isnt postponed (a cyclist has never killed a driver..though some days I have been tempted after some close passes).    

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cyclisto replied to Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
2 likes

With all these drivers furiously demanding cyclists to pay road taxes, are you sure that no drivers haven't been killed by cyclists? Judging by their zeal, there must be at least a few hundreds of drivers killed by cyclists and many thousands of destroyed cars per year, so you should check again your stats.

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stevemaiden | 1 year ago
7 likes

We need stricter punishments. The reason we see so much dangerous driving around cyclists is the lack of any consequences for when it goes wrong. There's simply nothing to worry about so why bother. Before entering every roundabout I'm sure we all check twice for cyclists, every driver must do this but the only way they will do so is if the punishment for killing a cyclist destroys their lives. That's not the case at the moment so drivers charge around with no thought about the consequences of seriously injuring/killing someone - becaue there are no consequences. 

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chrisonabike replied to stevemaiden | 1 year ago
6 likes

Not point even bringing back hanging 'em for turnip stealing if there are no police in the fields...  It's the consequences AND the chance of them happening - latter is very low ATM.

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
12 likes

24 seconds is a very long time on the road not to have noticed or checked for the cyclist.
Longer ban needed.

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OldRidgeback replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
9 likes
hirsute wrote:

24 seconds is a very long time on the road not to have noticed or checked for the cyclist. Longer ban needed.

That's a short sentence for an offence that has consequences that will last a very, very long time.

RIP to the victim and my sympathies to the family and friends.

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Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
9 likes

.

Jayz, kill a cyclist and get a little slap on the wrist.

.

This HAS to change.

.

Can NOT go on like this.

.

And see another article on the site:

'A driver who blared his BMW's horn and shouted abuse at a cyclist with cancer before launching a shocking unprovoked attack has been told he will be going to jail.'

.

Can anybody out there explain to me the logic of the UK's judicial approach to assaulting or killing cyclists?

.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
3 likes

Who is Jayz and when did he kill a cyclist?

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chrisonabike replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
4 likes

I understand he is a "wrapper" - so presumably he only killed a cyclist metaphorically?  Possibly to rhyme with "Diss" or "slap on the wris'"?

Flintshire also confused me with an apparent extreme change of position with "the logic of the UK's judicial approach to assaulting or killing cyclists" - making "them" culpable and the judicary complicit.  Until I re-read it.

The only good thing in this is "driver plans not to drive HGVs" - of course, that's down to him.  2 years licence suspension.  Sounds like (more of) those slightly safer roundabout designs there are needed.  Plus - sadly - time for drivers to learn them by trial and error, given our inefficient communication of changes to drivers.

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Pub bike replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
3 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

I Sounds like (more of) those slightly safer roundabout designs there are needed.

If the driver was behind the cyclist then the problem is not the roads, it is just the driver.  HGV drivers need to pay a lot more attention.  How to achieve that?

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chrisonabike replied to Pub bike | 1 year ago
2 likes

How to make HGV drivers better people - get them to read scripture more often?  Make them wear hair shirts (to stop them dozing off)?

I'm normally a bit suspicious of "just make the humans do it better" as it sounds easy but getting specific behavioural changes by large groups is not a trivial task.  "Professional driver" though so there are fewer of them, someone should be checking them and someone's paying.  So there's more of a chance.

Low hanging fruit - given some of the recent stories here about drivers who had no licence at all and were high at the time I'd say just doing a modicum of checks under existing laws / some more policing would be a start.

At the end of the day though why take a chance and leave the safety up to the driver?  Just separate the heavy traffic from the light traffic entirely.  Where they must still interact bring the speed of the heavy vehicles down as low as possible.  Hence the safer junction design.  Tight curves and camber slow the vehicles.  Vehicles and cyclists interact at right angles for maxium mutual visibility.  Cyclists don't have to look behind them and still hope the driver has seen them.  Everyone can deal with one interaction at a time and cyclists can watch a vehicle and see if it's slowing or not.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Pub bike | 1 year ago
4 likes

I think I mentioned in the original court case that looking at the island approach for her, the bike path markings actually actively put cyclists in danger from left turning vehicles  also assume the cyclist is probably only going left if they stay within the lane onto it as it pushes them that way. 

Not defending driver as it was his assumption that killed her.  

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Dicklexic replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
3 likes

On a related note, that particular roundabout now has a 'Thank You NHS' message painted on the road! Whilst I absolutely do not deny that we have a lot to thank them for, I am not sure that painting an extra distraction for drivers in that location is what we really need!

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.1768143,0.1457692,3a,53.1y,179.29h,74.24t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxGfz00763ZGuuUzvM-RDDw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

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chrisonabike replied to Dicklexic | 1 year ago
0 likes

Private Eye had a good photo of such a tribute - in the window of a Co-op Funeral Home...

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Awavey replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
2 likes

Is the white bike on google maps for her or was there another cyclist death there ?.

That just looks a really horrible roundabout to navigate on a bike, none of that infra is there helping a cyclist and its putting you in positions where drivers can put you in massive danger and make the wrong assumptions about where you are going.

The saddest thing is you can instantly see how that crash came about just from a static photo, doesnt even need traffic modelling or a survey of how the traffic flows, yet a cyclist pays for it with their life,a driver gets a suspended sentence (ok we can debate if that's appropriate) but the roundabout stays the same, the crappy infra stays the same, the near misses dont get reported so how long till another cyclist loses their life there?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Awavey | 1 year ago
3 likes

The date of the streetview further on is the same month of the incident so the flowers are probably her tribute and I also expect the Ghost bike was as well. (It doesn't show on the April2021 picture.)

They might have changed the layout in the year since (I doubt it) but you can see from the cyclist here that he has to cut across the flow of traffic at about 30 degrees to "carry on straight" if following the cycle lane to the end. In his case there were no vehicles behind him so he was alright. 

 

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Awavey replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

It looks like the current setup is the "improved" setup, as the marked lane used to go all the way around the corner which probably made it even harder to go straight on and now theyve put in a toucan crossing on the Hills Rd exit and a narrow shared pavement to get to it, which is basically an admission the roundabout is too dangerous for cycling in it's current configuration.

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