Fri, 15 July 2022 at 11:23 am
A cyclist has been jailed for a year for mounting a pavement at speed and knocking over a 79-year-old woman who died four days later.
Stewart McGinn, 29, cut the corner of a junction in Monmouth, Wales, and hit Jane Stone as she returned from an evening at the cinema with a friend at about 10pm on 7 June last year.
Cardiff Crown Court heard on Thursday that McGinn fled the scene despite Ms Stone’s friend begging him to stay and help.
He admitted one count of causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison and banned from driving for two and a half years, and ordered the forfeiture of the mountain bike he was riding when he hit Ms Stone.
The court heard McGinn, from Monmouth, would not have been able to see pedestrians when he made the turn.
He had no lights on his bike, only one working brake and failed to stop to assist Ms Stone, a widowed church minister and retired teacher, despite her friend Janet Bromley’s plea for help as he rode away.
In a statement to the court, Ms Bromley said her friend was hit so hard she was lifted off her feet and then “poleaxed” to the ground.
Ms Bromley added: “I heard an almighty crack as the back of her head hit the pavement.”
Ms Bromley said she called after McGinn as he rode off: “I’m on my own, please stop, come back and help me.”
She said Ms Stone was initially conscious and trying to lift herself up but her eyes started rolling and she began to vomit up blood.
She died four days later in hospital from a combination of her serious head injury and bronchial pneumonia.
McGinn finally handed himself in to police on 17 June and initially claimed he had merely clipped Ms Stone with the handlebars while riding close to the pavement.
He also said he had picked her up and apologised before riding away but later admitted he had lied to police because of “panic”.
McGinn was on an errand to the shops for his mother-in-law when he struck Ms Stone, the court heard. He has previous endorsements on his driving licence for driving without insurance and a faulty tyre.
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke said McGinn had shown a “flagrant disregard for the rules of the road which apply to cyclists as well as motorists”.
She told McGinn: “You rode on the pavement and rode very fast around the corner when you knew you could not see if anyone was there – they stood no chance of avoiding you.”
She said “this was not a momentary inattention” and McGinn made “a deliberate decision to ignore or disregard the rules of the road which apply just as well to cyclists as other road users”.
In a statement, Ms Stone’s family said: “She was healthy and physically active, only a few years ago abseiling down the church tower to raise funds.
“She was a past church warden of St Thomas’s Church, was a lay eucharistic minister, sacristan and heavily involved in all church activities, helping and supporting members of the community as needed.”
Ms Stone’s church paid tribute to her, saying she was a “supportive and tireless” church warden.
A spokesman for Monmouth Parishes said Ms Stone was “always so full of life and willing to share not only her time but also her faith in her care for others”.
He added: “A fearless and loyal friend for all those who knew her well.”
Ryan Randall, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The way in which McGinn rode his bike around the corner was completely irresponsible.
“His disregard for the safety of others using the pavement proved to be disastrous and is a stark reminder that pedal cycles can be dangerous to other road users when ridden so recklessly.
“Our thoughts are with those who have suffered the tragic loss of Ms Stone.”