Wales

Changes made to bike races since spectator death

Peter Walton (left) and Judith Garrett (right) Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Judith Garrett had been planning to move into her first house with her boyfriend, Peter Walton

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

Judith Garrett was hit by a bike while watching a race her partner, Peter Walton, was competing in.

The 29-year-old, of Prudhoe, near Newcastle, was airlifted to hospital in Stoke but died the next day.

The accident happened at Tan y Graig Farm, near Llangollen, Denbighshire, on 31 August 2014.

At Mold Crown Court last year organiser Michael Marsden, 42, was cleared of a charge of failing to conduct the event so people were not exposed to risk.

The British Cycling Federation (BCF), which sanctioned the race, was acquitted of failing to ensure the health and safety of people attending.

Race marshal Kevin Duckworth was found not guilty of failing to take reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of others.

At Wednesday's hearing, in Ruthin, north Wales (east and central) coroner John Gittins said it was unusual to proceed with an inquest after criminal proceedings.

He said it was necessary for him to consider whether a Regulation 28 report to prevent future deaths was required.

"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.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Judith Garrett was struck and received fatal injuries

Barrister Prashant Popat QC, for the BCF, said: "There have been changes made in the organisation of this kind of event, not all directly linked to this incident but were afoot beforehand."

These included risk assessment procedures and training for organisers, he said.

The coroner asked the BCF to address concerns of Judith's family in its report to him on what steps have been taken.

The hearing was adjourned to a date to be fixed.

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