South East Wales

Paralympic GB cyclist Simon Richardson: Driver guilty

A farmer has been found guilty of dangerous driving after seriously injuring a Paralympic champion cyclist.

Simon Richardson, 44, who won two gold medals and a silver in 2008, was training for the London Games on the A48 near Bridgend in August last year.

A jury at Newport Crown Court found Edward Howell Adams, 60, of Cowbridge, guilty of dangerous driving.

He had admitted drink-driving and failing to stop after an accident and will be sentenced on 30 August.

The jury heard that after the incident in August last year Adams, who is known by his middle name Howell, attempted to hide his Peugeot van at his farm.

But it was located by a police helicopter, and was found with damage to a wing and windscreen.

Mr Richardson, of Porthcawl, who was awarded the MBE after the 2008 Games, had been training for London 2012 on country roads near his home that week.

In a witness statement, motorist Gordon Broomfield told how he had overtaken a van and cyclist, and "looked in disbelief" to see the van drive through the cyclist, who was thrown into the air.

The jury also heard Adams, when interviewed by police, said he had been drinking the night before and had drunk his first whisky at 6am when he woke up.

'Black car'

Image caption Edward Howell Adams denied dangerous driving in August 2011 but admitted drink-driving

Adams said: "I couldn't see a cyclist. I followed a black car and he pulled across.

"I assumed that he was pulled across he was turning off the road. I now know he was driving around the other car.

"Later I felt one hell of a bang and I thought I had hit a sheep. I slowed right down.

"I thought to myself: 'I just want to go home'."

"I didn't try to hide my van but I did drive it off the driveway into the field."

He admitted lying to police about driving at the time of the accident at 9.40am on a morning trip to pick up oil.

Adams said he had seen a car overtake him on the road where the incident happened and then he was blinded by sunlight.

He told the court he did not consider his driving dangerous at the time or that his eyesight was so poor it posed a danger.

After the court case Simon Richardson said he hoped the incident would show drivers to be more aware of cyclists on the road.

He added that he hopes he will be well enough to compete at the next Paralympics.

"I would love to go to Rio in four years.

"I have an operation in September then I have six months to a year to recover.

"I've done it before and I know I can do it again," he said.

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