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Changes following Llangollen cycle race

By Sue Austin | Llangollen | News | Published:

Changes have been made into the way mountain bike races are staged following the death of a spectator five years ago, a pre-inquest hearing has been told.

Judith Garrett, 29, was hit by an out-of-control bike while watching a race at Tan y Graig Farm, near Llangollen in Denbighshire on August 31, 2014. Her partner, Peter Walton, was competing in the event.

Miss Garrett, of Prudhoe, near Newcastle, was airlifted to the Royal University Hospital in Stoke but died the following day.

Last year, at Mold Crown Court, Michael Marsden, 42, who organized the event, was cleared of failing to conduct it in such a way that people were not exposed to risk.

The British Cycling Federation, which sanctioned the race, was also acquitted of failing to ensure the health and safety of people attending, and race marshal Kevin Duckworth was found not guilty of failing to take reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of others.

At a pre-inquest hearing in Ruthin on Wednesday John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, said it was unusual to proceed with an inquest after criminal proceedings but it was necessary to do so for him to consider whether he needed to issue a Regulation 28 report to prevent future deaths.

“We need to focus on what lessons have been learned and what changes have been made, if any, to something which might have been a contributory factor in Judith’s death,” he said.

Barrister Prnshant Popat representing the BCF, said: “There have been changes made in the organization of this kind of event, not all directly linked to this incident but were afoot beforehand.”

Those changes included risk assessment procedures and suitable training for organizers, he added.

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The coroner asked for the BCF to address the observations and concerns of Judith’s family to be included in its report to him on what steps have been taken.

He also asked Mr Popat and the family’s legal representatives to forward him their views on whether the inquest should be before a jury.

“If a jury is not required it could almost be dealt with on paper without calling any evidence,” he said.

The hearing was adjourned to a date to be fixed.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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