Sunday 25 September 2016

Woman accused of killing cyclist appears in court in case funded by charity

Jack Hardy

Published 13/09/2016 | 13:12

Gail Purcell (face covered), 58, leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court after appearing accused of killing 70-year-old cyclist Michael Mason by careless driving
Gail Purcell (face covered), 58, leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court after appearing accused of killing 70-year-old cyclist Michael Mason by careless driving

A woman has appeared in court accused of killing a 70-year-old cyclist after a private prosecution case against her was crowdfunded by a charity.

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Gail Purcell, 58, hit teacher Michael Mason in her black Nissan Juke during evening rush hour on London's Regent Street in February 2014.

Undated family handout photo of Michael Mason as Gail Purcell has appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court accused of killing the 70-year-old cyclist after a private prosecution case against her was crowdfunded by a charity
Undated family handout photo of Michael Mason as Gail Purcell has appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court accused of killing the 70-year-old cyclist after a private prosecution case against her was crowdfunded by a charity

Mr Mason died 19 days later, having never regained consciousness from the injuries he sustained in the collision.

Purcell appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday charged with death by careless driving.

Wearing a black shirt, she stood to confirm her name and age, before indicating she intended to plead not guilty.

Prosecutor Michael Goodwin told the court that it was a "complex" and "serious" case that should be heard in crown court.

Previously, the Met Police twice decided not to refer the case against Purcell to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In response, a private prosecution was brought against her by charity Cycling UK, which started the Cyclists' Defence Fund, a campaigning body which, in part, focuses on providing legal assistance to cyclists.

Through an online fundraising drive, it collected more than £60,000 from 1,500 donors to finance the case.

The defendant was told her case would be heard in Southwark Crown Court on October 11.

She was given unconditional bail until her next appearance.

Press Association

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