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Driver could face manslaughter charge after coroner halts inquest into teenage cyclist’s death

Case has been referred to Director of Public Prosecutions after new evidence came to light

A driver could face a manslaughter charge after a coroner halted an inquest into the death in 2016 of a 15-year-old cyclist and referred the case back to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) due to new evidence coming to light.

Coroner Dr James Adeley has also ordered Lancashire Police to re-open its investigation into the hit-and-run crash in which teenager Dylan Crossey lost his life, reports the Lancashire Evening Post.

The highly unusual turn of events came on the fifth day of an inquest at Preston’s County Hall into the youngster’s death in Whitesake, Lancashire, on the evening of 7 October 2016 as he cycled home with a friend.

Police traced the driver of the BMW involved, David Harwood, and charged him with causing death by dangerous driving, but he was acquitted of the charge at trial in 2018. He fled the scene to meet a woman he had met through a dating app.

In cases in which a prosecution is pending, a full coroner’s inquest is only held after criminal proceedings have run their course.

However, despite his acquittal, Harwood could now face a new charge of gross negligence manslaughter after Dylan’s family made an application under the Coroner’s Inquest Rules for the case to be reinvestigated due to new evidence being discovered.

That followed a reconstruction of events ordered by the coroner earlier this year, after which he made the decision for the inquest to be held before a jury, again an unusual step.

The coroner said that it could take as long as a year for the DPP to make a decision on whether to order a fresh trial, but explained that a reconstruction into the crash he had ordered earlier this year had “provided considerable new evidence and insight into the case.

“Therefore I will adjourn the inquest and notify the DPP that he should reconsider the prosecution of David Harwood for gross negligence manslaughter.

“It will take time for the police to complete the enquiries they will need,” he added.

Dylan’s mother, Tracey Milligan, said: “I am very happy. Let’s get him back for a proper investigation. All I have wanted all along has been the truth.

“This case was handled terribly and the Coroner Dr Adeley has gone above and beyond. He arranged a reconstruction and that has been a godsend.

“This week has been horrendous sitting through all the evidence,” she continued.

“We will now wait and hope that the police do a good, thorough reinvestigation and no stone is left unturned.

“They [the police] did a terrible job,” she continued. “I think we have gathered that by the evidence which has been given this week.

“I am not going to comment on why. We have to think about going forward and getting the right answers and the right result for an innocent 15-year-old boy who was killed and left.

“I don’t want any other family to go through what we have gone through. That was always my intention,” she added.

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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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