We’ve featured the case of the death of Eilidh Cairns before on these blogs before. That was more in relation to their “See Me Save Me” campaign by her family to get lorries fitted with sensors and cameras that could help lorry drivers with their blind spots both here in the UK and in Europe.
Well now the family have a more personal battle on their hands as they look to force authorities to open a new fresh inquest into Eilidh’s death.
Just to recap Eilidh died after becoming trapped under the wheels of a tipper truck when she cycled through London’s Notting Hill Gate in morning rush hour traffic on February 5, 2009. She was airlifted to hospital conscious but died hours later.
At the original inquest, held on January 22, 2010 at Westminster Coroner’s Court, the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death but now the Cairns family wants the High Court to quash that verdict and order a fresh inquest.
The family are of the opinion that the coroner who conducted the first inquest failed in her duty to carry out an adequate investigation or considered making recommendations that could prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Failure of duty
Anna Morris, appearing for the family, told Mr Justice Silber at the High Court hearing yesterday: “There was a failure to consider the wider impact of Eilidh’s death and the huge problem facing cyclists in London.”
Ms Morris said the coroner appeared “unwilling” in the inquest to explore any issues that related to how the truck driven by Portuguese lorry driver Joao Lopes had come into collision with Eilidh’s bike. Mr Lopes had claimed he did not see Ms Cairns in front of him when he hit her bike and ran over her. At his criminal hearing, it was found that Mr Lopes had defective vision.
Jonathan Hough, the barrister appearing for the coroner yesterday, argued that the coroner had been faced with a type of road traffic accident between cyclists and lorries that was “tragically common”. A decision on the case will be made at a later date.
The timing of the court case coincides with another high profile death involving a female cyclist and a lorry at London’s King Cross junction just two weeks ago. Could recommendations made by the coroner in Eilidh’s case have made a difference to Transport for London approach to ensuring cyclists safety in London and stopped other collisions happening?