Family of Hampstead cyclist killed in truck collision calls for new inquest

PUBLISHED: 11:00 07 November 2011

Eilidh Cairns was cycling to work from her home in Hampstead when she was killed.

Eilidh Cairns was cycling to work from her home in Hampstead when she was killed.


The sister of a television producer who was killed cycling to work from her Hampstead Heath home is fighting a legal battle for a new inquest into her death.

Eilidh Cairns had just landed her dream job in TV when her bike became trapped under a tipper truck in Notting Hill in 2009.

The seriously injured 30-year-old lay under the wheels of the 32-tonne lorry still conscious and able to talk to witnesses before being airlifted to hospital. She died hours later.

An inquest into her death was held in January last year. But to her family’s dismay, a verdict of accidental death was recorded.

Her sister Kate Cairns, 38, has now asked a High Court judge to quash the original verdict and order a fresh inquest.

She says that the “reluctant” coroner failed in her duty to carry out an adequate investigation and to consider making recommendations which could prevent similar tragedies in the future.

On October 18, Anna Morris, appearing for the family, told Mr Justice Silber: “There was a failure to consider the wider impact of Eilidh’s death and the huge problem facing cyclists in London.”

Ms Morris said that the family’s perception was that the coroner appeared “unwilling” to explore any issues relating to how the truck, driven by Portuguese lorry driver Joao Lopes, came to collide with Eilidh’s bike.

Mr Lopes had claimed he did not see Ms Cairns.

He later pleaded guilty at Kingston Magistrates’ Court to a charge of driving with defective vision.

He received three points on his licence and was fined £200.

Jonathan Hough, appearing for the coroner, urged the judge to reject the legal challenge and argued that the coroner had been faced with a type of road traffic accident which was “tragically common”.

The judge reserved his decision to a later date.

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