The daughter of a cyclist who died after being run over in the West End revealed she was considering a private prosecution after police took no action against the driver.
Anna Tatton-Brown, 33, said she was disgusted at a coroner’s verdict that her father Michael Mason’s death was an “accident” and said he would have wanted her to continue to fight for safer cycling.
Outside the inquest, BBC journalist Ms Tatton-Brown told the Standard: “I’m annoyed that the police have not taken any further action. I don’t think it sends a very good message to other drivers, or to cyclists that their lives are considered not worth protecting.
“You do wonder what more evidence they need to take action against a driver for killing someone.
“I have tried to do what my dad would have wanted. He was quite livid about bad driving on London’s roads and cyclists not being protected and being very vulnerable. Were he alive now, he would be fighting this tooth and nail.”
Westminster coroner’s court heard on Wednesday last week how Mr Mason suffered “severe traumatic brain injury” after being hit from behind by a Nissan Juke car driven by Gale Purcell as he cycled north in Regent Street, near the BBC, at about 6.25pm on on February 25.
His life-support machine was switched off at St Mary’s hospital on March 14 when doctors told his family that the prospect of the 70-year-old stand-in teacher making a recovery was “extremely remote”.
See here for the story from the Evening Standard at the time: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/family-release-hospital-photograph-of-cyclist-killed-after-regent-street-crash-as-warning-to-motorists-9196427.html
See here for Ms Tatton-Brown’s tribute to her father, which was read out by the coroner’s officer at the inquest: http://wp.me/p4CjNO-78
Mrs Purcell, who stopped at the scene, told the inquest that she had not seen Mr Mason despite his bike having front and rear lights.
“It was like something had fallen from the sky,” she said. “I was totally unaware of a cyclist. I just heard an impact.”
Under cross-examination from Martin Porter QC, Mrs Purcell, who has never expressed any remorse to the cyclist’s family, added: “I should have seen him if he was [immediately ahead], but I didn’t see him.”
Collision investigator PC Brian Gamble told the court that “there was a view available” of Mr Mason to Mrs Purcell directly through her windscreen. “I’m unable to explain why Mrs Purcell was unable to react to his presence,” he said.
Det Con Andrew Meikle said a detective inspector had decided last month not to mount a prosecution due to a lack of evidence. CCTV footage showed Mr Mason cycling into the right-hand lane but not the collision. “The problem was that we couldn’t say what had happened in that vital 25m,” he told the court.
Coroner Dr William Dolman recorded that Mr Mason’s death was an accident.
Ms Tatton-Brown said her father was a “very experienced cyclist” who ridden daily throughout his adult life. He had been at the Apple store and was returning home to Kentish Town when he was hit. He was the second of 12 cyclists killed in road collisions in London this year.
His family is seeking legal advice on whether the Met’s decision not to prosecute can be challenged, and on the chances of succeeding with a private prosecution.
Ms Tatton-Brown said: “At some level, I would like her to be held responsible for killing my dad.
“I’m quite shocked by her admission that she should have seen him if he was in front of her. It’s the first time we have heard her explanation but it raises more questions than it answers.”