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Man who denies causing cyclist’s death by dangerous driving gives evidence

Carlisle Crown Court

A CAR driver has told a jury he made an “error of judgement” while overtaking a cyclist who was knocked from his bike and later died.

Andrew Paul Lanham, 71, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. He denies two alternative charges alleging that he caused the death of Frank Lee by dangerous and also careless driving.

It follows an incident on a the C3031 – a narrow, single-track country lane between Matterdale and Greystoke – on the morning of February 28 last year.

Mr Lee was riding an electric bike with a group of cyclists from the Keswick area University of the Third Age Skiddaw group. Lanham was driving a Ford Fiesta, and initially overtook some members of the group. He then passed Mr Lee, who was knocked from his bike, injured and taken to hospital. He died on September 14 at the age of 81, from complications which flowed from those serious, multiple injuries he originally sustained.

When interviewed, retired tree surgeon Lanham, of Penruddock, near Penrith, told police he believed he’d left “more than enough room” for the cyclist.

In evidence today (TUES), Lanham insisted: “I thought it was safe to overtake when I did.”

Prosecutor Tim Evans pointed out the combined width of a 4-5ft gap Lanham thought it was safe to leave, his car and Mr Lee’s bike was greater than the width of the road by more than a metre.

“I think it was an error of judgement,” responded Lanham, a man of good character with an unblemished driving record. “A miscalculation. I thought Mr Lee was further over.”

After the conclusion of evidence, jurors retired early this afternoon to consider verdicts on the two charges.

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