Cyclist jailed for 18 months after killing Lewisham mum

Kim Briggs, 44-year-old mother of two from Lewisham. Pic: Met Police

A cyclist who knocked over and killed a mother-of-two from Lewisham while riding an illegal racing bike has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison.

Charlie Alliston, 20, was travelling at 18mph on a fixed-wheel track bike with no front brakes when he crashed into 44-year-old Kim Briggs, who had stepped out into the road.

The fatal collision took place outside The Reliance pub on Old Street in Hackney in February 2016. Briggs died of her head injuries in hospital six days later.

Alliston was cleared of manslaughter but found guilty of causing bodily harm by “wanton and furious driving”. He will begin his sentence at a Young Offenders Institution.

Sentencing at the Old Bailey, Judge Wendy Joseph QC 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.”

The judge said Alliston’s “whole manner of driving” caused the incident, describing him as “an accident waiting to happen”.

“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.”

Alliston, from Bermondsey, who had denied both charges against him, raised his eyebrows as the judge said his sentence would be custodial.

In a series of posts on social media, Alliston described how he twice warned Briggs to “get the f*** outta my way”.

He wrote: “We collided pretty hard, our heads hit together, hers went into the floor and ricocheted into mine.

“It’s not my fault people either think they are invincible or have zero respect for cyclists,” he complained.

But Alliston’s lawyer, Mark Wyeth QC, told the court: “What we do not have is a callous young man who doesn’t give a damn about anything.”

He said his client had suffered tragedy at the age of 16 when his father collapsed and died from a heart attack just a week before Alliston was to sit his GCSEs.

The court also heard Alliston was depressed, had broken up with his girlfriend and lost his job.

Briggs’ widower Matthew, also from Lewisham, said in a statement outside court: “This case has clearly and evidently demonstrated there is a gap in the law when it comes to dealing with 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 there is a gap.”

Mr Briggs added that he was pleased with the progress made on updating the law, and called on bike retailers and courier companies to get fixed wheel bikes without front brakes off the road.

“I’m still seeing too many retailers irresponsibly advertising these bikes. They are illegal, and as we have seen with my wife’s death, they are potentially lethal.”

Detective Inspector Julie Trodden, of the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said the sentence was “appropriate given the circumstances of this offence”, and would act as a deterrent to others.

“We would like to see the incidence of people riding bicycles illegal for road use on London’s streets completely stop,” she said.

Duncan Dollimore of Cycling UK said the sentence “casts some light on the myth peddled in recent weeks: that cyclists can’t be and are never held accountable for irresponsible behaviour which endangers others”.

Despite saying Alliston’s decision to ride a bike without a front brake was “stupid” and had “tragic consequences”, Dollimore described calls for new cycling offences with increased penalties as “misguided”.

He expressed concern that the government had not progressed “the wide scale review of offences and penalties they promised three years ago, which victim’s families and road safety organisations have tirelessly demanded”.

Additional repoting by the Press Association

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