Lorry driver not guilty of killing Wynyard cyclist

FREE MAN: Paul Dove (left) was accused of killing Christopher Griffiths
FREE MAN: Paul Dove (left) was accused of killing Christopher Griffiths

A LORRY driver accused of killing a cyclist on the A19 has walked free from a court.

Paul Dove, 55, admitted he was the driver of the Mercedes articulated lorry which ran into the back of a bicycle ridden by Christopher Griffiths.

But Mr Dove denied causing death by careless driving.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court was discharged from giving a verdict after deliberating for seven-and-a-half-hours

A separate jury in a previous trial earlier this year also failed to reach a verdict, meaning two juries have spent more than 13 hours deliberating on the case without reaching a conclusion.

Both juries heard Mr Griffiths, 50, of Wynyard, was cycling in the nearside margin of the A19, near Billingham, when he was struck from behind by Mr Dove’s lorry.

The accident happened on January 23 last year at about 7am when it was dark.

Other drivers who passed Mr Griffiths safely said he either had no rear light or the rear light was dim.

Each of the drivers commented they thought cycling on that stretch of the road was dangerous.

But the court heard cyclists are allowed on the A19.

Mr Dove, of Aldwych Square, Farringdon, Sunderland, insisted throughout both trials his lorry was between the white lines in lane one at all times.

He said he could not explain how he had hit the cyclist if the bicycle was in the margin of the road.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby told the court there will not be a third trial.

“There is no possibility of improving on the evidence,” said Mr Cleasby. “Two juries have now deliberated long and hard on this case.

“There is no realistic prospect a third jury would find it any easier to decide.”

Mr Cleasby said the Crown will be offering no further evidence.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton recorded a formal not guilty verdict on behalf of Mr Dove.

“I agree with the Crown’s decision,” said the judge. “There comes a time when there has to be a reality check.

“There can be absolutely no criticism of either jury.

“It is clear they have paid close attention to this case, sometimes these things happen.”

The judge thanked members of Mr Griffiths’ family in the court’s public gallery for the dignified way they conducted themselves during the trial.