Coach driver accused of killing cyclist ‘only knew about accident after passenger alerted him’, court hears

PUBLISHED: 17:26 13 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:26 13 August 2018

Karla Roman, 32, died in hospital (Picture: MPS)

Karla Roman, 32, died in hospital (Picture: MPS)


A coach driver who turned into the path of a cyclist and caused fatal and “catastrophic injuries” only knew there had been an accident because a passenger alerted him to it, a court has heard.

Barry Northcott, from Bromley, is accused of killing Karla Roman, 32, by driving his coach without due care and attention on February 6 last year. He denies one count of death by careless driving.

Woolwich Crown Court heard how the incident took place at the junction of White Church Lane and Whitechapel High Street and saw the “catastrophic injuries” caused to Ms Roman, who was riding a “distinctive” blue bicycle.

Opening the prosecution’s case, Harpreet Sandhu said: “The defendant began a left-hand turn and into the path that Karla Roman was on, he did not see her in the mirrors as he turned because he was not paying attention.

“He did not see her in the mirrors as he continued to turn as he was not paying attention, and when he made that left-hand turn into her path, his coach collided with her and ended up dragging her with her bike under the wheels of the coach.”

Ms Roman was taken to hospital where attempts to save her life were unsuccessful.

Northcott, who is on bail, sat in the dock wearing a grey suit and tie and kept his head down as CCTV footage of the incident that was captured from cameras on the coach, including images of Ms Roman being hit, was shown to the court.

The 40-year-old was working for Kent-based coach company Clarks Coaches, and was driving a commuter coach on the day of the accident, the court heard.

Mr Sandhu said the first Northcott knew of the presence of Ms Roman and the fatal collision he was responsible for was when one of the passengers onboard informed him of it.

Mr Sandhu told the court that Ms Roman and another cyclist had been towards the left-hand side of the coach at the junction just before the incident, and had previously been travelling ahead of Northcott and within view for some 16 seconds.

A jury of four women and eight men heard how Northcott had pulled into and over the cycle stop box at the lights of the junction, and was in the right-hand lane and intending to turn left.

Mr Sandhu said there was “no reason” why he should not have seen her and that Northcott had breached the rule to not encroach into the cycle stop box when stopping at the lights.

“The defendant should have stopped at the first while line and he did not. He did not even stop at the second white line, he went over that second and he did that to make his own journey easier,” he said.

Mr Sandhu said Northcott’s “deliberate decision” to enter the cycle stop box, which is there to provide safety, “deprived one cyclist of that”.

The court heard how he later told the police he often disregarded the rules about the cycle stop box to “stop himself being swamped by cyclists”.

The trial continues.

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