Sister loses fight for new inquest into Hampstead cyclist’s death
PUBLISHED: 15:57 07 November 2011
The sister of a television producer who was killed cycling to work from her Hampstead Heath home has lost a High Court battle for a fresh inquest into her death.
Kate Cairns, 38, the sister of Hampstead cyclist Eilidh Cairns, launched a legal battle for a new inquest to investigate the “huge problem” of cycling deaths in London.
But a High Court judge ruled he was “a long way from being satisfied” that a new hearing would result in a different verdict today (Monday, November 7).
Eilidh Cairns had just landed her dream job in TV when her bike became trapped under a tipper truck as she cycled to work in Notting Hill from her Hampstead Heath home in February 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.
She was one of nine cyclists killed by heavy goods vehicles on London’s roads in 2009 - eight of them women.
An inquest into her death was held in January last year and a verdict of accidental death was recorded.
But her sister last month asked a High Court judge to quash the original verdict.
She said the “reluctant” coroner had failed in her duty to carry out an adequate investigation and to consider making recommendations which could prevent similar tragedies.
Her lawyer also said the family’s perception was that the coroner appeared “unwilling” to explore any issues relating to how the truck came to collide with Eilidh’s bike.
But Mr Justice Silber said a police officer involved in the crash investigation said he was “unaware of anything which could be done to prevent accidents of the kind in which Miss Cairns was tragically killed”.
The judge said: “I am conscious that this judgment will be a disappointment to the Cairns family, to whom we all send our deepest sympathy, but my duty is to apply the law, which I have sought to do.”
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