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Five on trial for London cyclist's death after he was caught up in drivers' dispute

Court hears of rider killed yards from home as cars raced over dog dispute

The Old Bailey has heard how a London cyclist was killed just yards from his home after being hit by a car traveling at up to twice the speed limit whose driver was involved in a dispute over the price of a rottweiler with occupants of a second vehicle involved in the incident.

Graham Thwaites, aged 51, who worked in the City of London as an administrator for Lloyds TSB, died from his injuries in September 2008 after being hit by a Mitsubishi Shogun driven by 35-year-old Andrew Carlisle on Leesons Hill, Orpington, reports the Press Association.

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey that the vehicle was “completely out of control” at the time of the fatal collision, and that it was being pursued, and was rammed twice, by a Vauxhall Vectra containing William Dennard, 24, David Cook, 24, George Webb 27, and Shane Webb, 24.

He added that there was “great deal of animosity" between Carlisle and the four occupants of the Astra, apparently arising from a dispute over the cost of a rottweiler. All five are on trial for manslaughter and causing death by dangerous driving, with prosecutors saying that they are all responsible for Mr Thwaites’ death, whether as a result of their driving or through encouragement.

According to Mr Heywood, the two vehicles were driven for three quarters of a mile along the residential road, where the speed limit is 30mph, at up to 60mph. “They jostled for position in the road,” he said. “They paid no heed to other users of the road. They were interested only in their own immediate purpose. Those in the second car drove so hard and in such a way that the front of their own vehicle hit the back of the one they were following. They hit that car not once but twice over that short distance of three-quarters of a mile."

Mr Heywood continued: "All of this ended, as it was bound to end, in tragedy. It ended in death - but not for them. The man who died didn't know them. He had never heard of any of them. He knew nothing of their fight or petty grievances. It is probable that he didn't even see them coming. He was riding properly, he was dressed properly and, what's more, he was just yards from home."

The trial resumes today.

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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