Event organisers in court over death of woman at Llangollen mountain bike race

Reporter:

Andrew Martin

The case against the organisers of a mountain biking event at Llangollen in which a spectator died after being struck by an out of control cycle has been sent to the crown court.

The British Cycling Federation, an official and a marshal at the event at Llangollen back in August 2014, made their first appearance in court at Flintshire Magistrates’ Court at Mold.

District Judge Gwyn Jones sent the case to Mold Crown Court where the case will be listed for a plea and trial preparation hearing on September 29.

No pleas were indicated at this stage.

The proceedings follow the death of 29-year-old spectator Judith Garrett, who had been at the event to watch her boyfriend compete.

The family and friends of Miss Garrett attended the hearing and sat in the public gallery.

The charge against The British Cycling Federation, based at Stuart Street in Manchester, alleges that on August 31, 2014, at Tan y Craig Farm in Llangollen, it failed to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure the health and safety of people attending.

The Federation’s head of corporate services, Alan Hawkins, attended on its behalf.

A marshal, Kevin Ian Duckworth, aged 41 of Addison Street in Accrington, Lancashire, is alleged to have failed to ensure that his health and safety duties as a marshal were complied with.

Race official Michael Marsden, 40, of Gressingham Drive in Lancaster, is alleged to have failed to conduct the event in such a way that people were not exposed to risk.

It is alleged that he failed to ensure the safety of spectators at the competition and failed to provide marshals with adequate training regarding the safety of spectators.

The final charge alleges that he failed to report the death of Miss Garrett to the appropriate authorities.

Prosecuting barrister Andrew Green, appearing on behalf of Denbighshire County Council, and defending barrister Olivia Tusler, both said that the case should be dealt with in the crown court.

It was described as a complicated case to include expert evidence and there would also be employee-employer issues arising, Mr Green explained.

The Jjudge agreed that pleas should not be entered at this stage, and that the appropriate venue was the crown court.

Duckworth and Marsden were granted unconditional bail pending the crown court hearing.

Judith Garrett, 29, of Prudhoe, had been living with her boyfriend’s family at Whitley Bay.

She was airlifted to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke but died the following day.

Her partner Peter Walton and Judith had been a couple for three years.

She was said to have died from major head injuries after being struck by a cycle when a rider lost control.

Email:

andrew.martin@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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