A Bermondsey cyclist has been cleared of killing a mother-of-two who died after he crashed into her while illegally riding a bike without a front brake.
Former bike courier Charlie Alliston, 20, was cleared of manslaughter but could still face up to two years in jail after being found guilty of causing bodily harm by wanton and furious riding at the Old Bailey today, Wednesday.
Alliston, then eighteen, of Trothy Road, was travelling at 18mph on a fixed-wheel track bike with no front brakes before he crashed into 44-year-old Kim Briggs as she crossed busy Old Street in February last year.
Prosecutors took the unprecedented step of bringing a manslaughter charge due to the unusually grave circumstances of the case.
Following a trial, jurors took more than twelve hours to find Alliston not guilty of manslaughter but convicted him of the lesser offence, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
The former bike courier, wearing a top with “Anti Social” on it, had been on his way to buy food for his girlfriend when he crashed into Mrs Briggs during her lunch break.
As she crossed the capital’s Old Street, he twice shouted for her to get out of the way but failed to stop or avoid the head-on collision.
He sprang up and continued to shout at his victim as she lay in the road with catastrophic head injuries. Mrs Briggs died in hospital a week later.
Alliston criticised Mrs Briggs and claimed she was responsible for the crash in a string of posts on social media in the days that followed.
In a comment on an online news article, he claimed he had shouted out to her but she “ignored me”, looked back at her phone then “stopped dead” in his path.
He wrote: “I feel bad due to the seriousness of her injuries but I can put my hands up and say this is not my fault.”
On an internet forum for fixed-wheel bike enthusiasts, he later described how he twice warned her to “get the f*** outta my way”.
He wrote: “We collided pretty hard, our heads hit together, hers went into the floor and ricocheted into mine.
“It is a pretty serious incident so I won’t bother saying oh she deserved it, it’s her fault. Yes it is her fault but no she did not deserve it.
“Hopefully, it is a lesson learned on her behalf, it shouldn’t have happened like it did but what more can I say.”
He complained: “Everyone is quick to judge and help the so-called victim but not the other person in the situation, ie me.
“It all happened so fast and even at a slow speed there was nothing I could do. I just wish people would stop making judgments.
“It’s not my fault people either think they are invincible or have zero respect for cyclists.”
Jurors heard Alliston’s trendy “fixie” bike was not legal to use on the road without being modified to add a front brake.
He bought the £700 Planet X bike second-hand for £470 in January last year, telling the vendor he wanted to use it for track cycling.
In a reference to an American bike stunt film-maker, he tweeted: “The time when you first take your brakes off and feeling like you’re in a @lucasbrunelle movie.”
Crash investigators who studied CCTV of the incident concluded Alliston would have been able to stop and avoid the collision if the bike had been fitted with a front brake.
But giving evidence in his trial, Alliston claimed not to know the bike was illegal on the road and told jurors he was not riding recklessly.
He said: “At all times I would know what I’m doing and completely responsible for my actions. I did not get a kick or enjoyment out of not being safe.”
Mrs Briggs’s widower Matthew, from Lewisham, south London, sat in court throughout the trial, during which the CCTV footage of the crash was played several times.
Judge Wendy Joseph QC ordered a pre-sentence report, making clear she was considering jail.
She said: “I have not seen one iota of remorse from Mr Alliston at all at any stage.”
She adjourned sentencing until September 18.
In a statement read in court, Mr Briggs paid tribute to his “wonderful” wife, with whom he had a daughter aged eleven and a son aged fourteen.
He said: “She was quick to smile, slow to judge and even slower to anger.”
Mr Briggs said the trial had been “gruelling and painful”, adding: “Out of this senseless carnage, I shall try to bring change to the law and change to attitudes. Perhaps in this way I can honour my wife.”