A lorry driver today told how he held the hand of a young cyclist when he realised she was lying fatally injured under the wheels of his vehicle.
Vincent Doyle, 45, was giving evidence at the Old Bailey as he stood trial for causing the death by careless driving of German postgraduate student Janina Gehlau, 26, at Ludgate Circus on October 17, 2014.
Mrs Gehlau, above, who had been in London for a month, died three days later in hospital with her husband and mother at her side.
The court was told yesterday that Doyle, as he got out of his cab after the collision, which happened when he turned left over a cycle lane, exclaimed: “Oh my God, You stupid girl, didn’t you hear I was turning left?”
An audible alarm indicated the skip lorry was indicating to turn left. Asked by defence barrister Alan Wheetman why he had used such “accusative words”, Doyle replied: “At first I was angry. I thought: ‘What is that stupid person doing?’
“Then, as I got close and I got down beside the girl, I realised how serious her injuries were.
“I was trying to keep her alive until the ambulance got there. I was holding her hand. I was feeling her pulse. I was shouting ‘hang on, hang on’. I was pleading with her.”
He said City of London police initially told him there would be no criminal charges. He was charged two months later and “the bottom fell out of my world”.
He said he had a nervous breakdown last year and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for eight weeks.
Under heated cross-examination, prosecutor Allison Hunter accused Doyle of “telling one lie after another” in his recollection of the collision.
At first, Doyle told police he had not stopped at the lights. After viewing CCTV evidence, he admitted he was in fact stationary at a red light for 23 seconds.
The court also heard Doyle failed to spot a large Trixi mirror attached to the traffic lights, which offered a view down the inside of his lorry.
Ms Hunter told him: “If you were not aware of that Trixi mirror, it’s a symptom of your carelessness. That is an example of how careless and inattentive you were on October 17.”
Doyle replied: “There was no carelessness. I’m a careful driver and she was not in my mirrors.”
The case continues.