South East Wales

Paralympic cyclist Simon Richardson 'hit by drink-driver'

A van driver accused of knocking over and injuring a Paralympic cyclist was twice over the drink-drive limit and had poor eyesight, a court has heard.

Gold medal winner Simon Richardson, 44, of Porthcawl, was riding along the A48 near Bridgend when he was struck.

At Newport Crown Court, farmer Edward Adams, 60, of Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, denies dangerous driving.

He has admitted drink-driving and failing to stop after an accident. The trial continues.

Image caption Edward Adams denies dangerous driving in August 2011

Jane Rowley, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Adams should not have been driving because he was over the legal drink-drive limit and has poor eyesight.

A jury was told that even with his driving glasses on he could not read a number plate from 4m (about 13ft) away and could only partially read one from 2m (6.5ft).

The court heard that following the incident last August Mr Adams 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 was in training for the London Paralympics and had clocked up 250 miles on the country roads near his home that week.

Image caption Simon Richardson won two golds and one silver medal at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008

He was 20 miles into his training ride when he was hit from behind by the passing van, the trial heard.

A statement from a witness, motorist Gordon Broomfield, was read to the jury.

He overtook the van and cyclist, who was wearing high visibility clothing.

He said he looked in his mirror waiting for the van to pull out into the same overtaking lane as him but he didn't, the court heard.

Mr Broomfield said he "looked in disbelief" as the van drove through the cyclist, who flew into the air.

The jury heard the van did not stop and Mr Broomfield said he tried to force it to pull over but it didn't.

He himself to returned to the scene to call the emergency services.

The jury also heard that Mr Adams, when interviewed by police, said he had drunk his first whisky at 6am when he woke up.

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

He told the police that he felt a bump and thought he had hit a sheep which is why he didn't stop.

Mr Adams told police he was shaken by the incident and had more whisky when he got home.

He told officers that he was very sorry that he had hit someone.

Mr Richardson received an MBE after winning two golds and one silver medal at Beijing in 2008.

The case was adjourned until Thursday.