UK

Cyclist Charlie Alliston Jailed For Killing Mother Of Two Kim Briggs While Riding Illegal Bike

The judge called him 'an accident waiting to happen'.

18/09/2017 12:47 BST | Updated 18/09/2017 16:49 BST

Former courier Charlie Alliston, who killed a mother-of-two while riding an illegal bike, has been jailed for 18 months.

Kim Briggs, 44, was fatally injured when she was crossing Old Street in central London when Alliston crashed into her with his bike in February last year. She suffered “catastrophic” head injuries and died in hospital a week later.

Alliston, 20, was sentenced on Monday to 18 months in a Young Offenders’ Institution at the Old Bailey.

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Charlie Alliston, 20, arrives at the Old Bailey for sentencing

He was riding an Olympic-style track bike with no front brakes when he hit Briggs.

The case prompted concerns that the law holding cyclists was not fit for purpose, after Alliston was found guilty of wanton and furious driving - an offence that dates from Victorian times - but was cleared of manslaughter.

It is thought to be the first time such a prosecution had been brought against a cyclist for the death a pedestrian.

Sentencing Alliston, Judge Wendy Joseph said: “I am satisfied in some part it was this so-called thrill that motivated you to ride without a front brake shouting and swearing at pedestrians to get out of the way.

“I have no doubt you are wrong in this. You were an accident waiting to happen.

“The victim could have been any pedestrian. It was in fact Mrs Kim Briggs.”

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Kim Briggs was fatally injured as she crossed the street

Briggs’ widower Matthew is pushing for new laws to tackle “irresponsible and reckless” riders so other families are spared having to endure the “absolutely dreadful” situation his family had.

In a unusual move, Alliston’s barrister Mark Wyeth QC gave a statement outside court after the sentencing, backing Matthew Briggs’ campaign for the legal reform.

“This case exemplifies why that need for reform is pressing,” he told reporters. “I respectfully and agree with and support Mr Briggs in his dignified quest for that reform which he undertakes in the memory of his wife.”

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Matthew Briggs, the widower of Kim Briggs, speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey after the sentencing

Matthew Briggs hit out at “irresponsible” retailers that sell bikes which are illegal to ride on the road. 

He said outside court: “This case has clearly and evidently demonstrated there is a gap in the law when it comes to dealing with death or serious injury by dangerous cycling.

“To have to rely on either manslaughter at one end, or a Victorian law that doesn’t even mention causing death at the other end, tells us there is a gap. The fact that what happened to Kim is rare is not a reason to be no remedy.”

Speaking outside the court, Alliston’s mother, Karan, said her son had been sentenced “appropriately”.

Cyclist advocates Cycling UK hit out at “myths pedalled in recent weeks: that cyclists can’t be and are never held accountable for irresponsible behaviour”.

Duncan Dollimore, their head of advocacy and campaigns, said: “As Cycling Uk has repeatedly made clear, Alliston’s decision to ride a fixed wheel vicycle without a front brake on busy roads was illegal, stupid and had tragic consequences.”

He added no cycling offences should created until there was a “complete review of the way in which the justice system deals with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users”.