By Cycling Weekly published
Words by Jack Beavis
A former soldier was found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after initially denying that he made any contact with the cyclist he left in a wheelchair.
Michael Gledhill, 23, was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court yesterday after an altercation with John Radford, 69, on the A616 in Yorkshire last July. It left Radford with severe brain injuries which he may never recover from.
Initially Mr Gledhill said that he didn’t know how traces of paint from the bumper of his car were found on Mr Radford’s bike, although agreed that the scientific evidence proved that his car came into contact with the bike.
The incident occurred when Mr Gledhill sounded his horn at Mr Radford, who he told the jury was “weaving across the road”, before exchanging angry words with him.
Mr Gledhill told the jury “I beeped my horn so he knew I was there so I could try and get around him” before slowing down as he pulled along side Mr Radford, who “seemed really angry, cross.”
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner reported that when asked by the prosecution: “At that minute, your thought was giving this man stick wasn’t it?”, Mr Gledhill replied “yes”, although denied that he was “full of road rage”.
When asked if he “deliberately drove at Mr Radford to knock him off his bike?” and if he “deliberately drove at Mr Radford to scare him?”, Mr Gledhill relied “no.” He told the jury: “I wasn’t really watching him I was watching where I was going, then out of the corner of my eye I seen him go over and heard his bike hit the floor.”
Mr Gledhill, at the time of the incident a Lance Corporal in the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, told the jury: “I just feel so sorry for him and his family, what they have had to go through.” He was travelling to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary when the incident occurred for his girlfriend’s scan of their expected second child.
Judge Christopher Batty caused controversy earlier in the trial when he pointed out that Mr Radford was not wearing a helmet, leading to him being seriously injured, which “has had a profound effect on his life” in his opening comments. However, in his closing statement Judge Batty instructed the jury that nothing should be made of Mr Radford not wearing a helmet.
The family of Mr Radford released a statement through their solicitor and insisted that there were “no winners” from the verdict.
It read: “After today nothing for us changes, our dad was a very active man. This completely avoidable incident has robbed him of his retirement choices, not only the sport of cycling which he lived for but the enjoyment of sharing things with his family especially his grandchildren.
“We are also will have to live through the after effects of this tragedy. As there is not a glimmer of hope of any quality to dad’s life, it is truly torturous to live with.
“There are no winners in this case. The lives of two families – Gledhill’s and ours – have been changed by the events on that day and nothing will ever make up for that.”
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