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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Cycle driver 'wished he was dead'
Robert Harris
Robert Harris expressed his deepest sympathies to the families
An inquest into the deaths of four cyclists killed by an out-of-control car has heard how the driver often wished he had died instead of them.

Robert Harris also said he was "very possibly" driving too fast before his car hit members of Rhyl Cycling Club on an icy road near Abergele, Conwy.

A statement by the 47-year-old security guard was read to the inquest jury.

It said Mr Harris constantly recalled the "tragic day" and offered his "deepest sympathies to the families".

Mr Harris, from Abergele, was on his way to work as a security guard at B&Q on the morning of the 8 January 2006.

As a family man, Mr Harris struggles to comprehend the impact of the bereaved's sudden and terrible losses
Statement on behalf of motorist Robert Harris

The four cyclists - Thomas Harland, 14, Maurice Broadbent, 61, Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42 - were killed when the car, a Toyota Corolla, collided with the group on the A547.

The cyclists had not long set out on a 60-mile Sunday club ride to Llandudno's Great Orme.

Peter Freeman, Mr Harris's barrister, read out the statement at the inquest at Abergele town hall.

"Mr Harris has always wanted to express his deepest sympathies to the families," he said.

"He has been mindful of the possible pain that might be caused by any approach by him.

"Mr Harris is very aware that nothing he can say or do will end the bereaved's suffering," the statement read.

"As a family man Mr Harris struggles to comprehend the impact of the bereaved's sudden and terrible losses.

"He cannot and does not see a member of his own family without feeling the pain of the bereaved's losses," Mr Freeman added.

At the inquest, North-East Wales coroner John Hughes asked Mr Harris if he had been going too fast for the conditions.

"Very possibly," Mr Harris replied.

His statement described how the back end of his car had slid on the icy road.

'Haunted'

He said in the statement he constantly recalled the "tragic day" and "did not set out intending to harm or even upset anyone".

Pictured clockwise: Thomas Harland, Wayne Wilkes, Maurice Broadbent, Dave Horrocks
The four cyclists had just started on their 60-mile ride

Mr Harris added he hoped "the bereaved accept how hard he fought - in those fateful seconds - to control his car and avoid the cyclists".

He said he had often wished he had not set off to work at all and that he had died instead.

In the statement Mr Harris said there was very little he could say because the crash happened so quickly.

He added that the interview he gave to the police only three days afterwards provided all the information he could offer.

He said he was "haunted" by the events but fully appreciated that his suffering was minimal compared to that of the bereaved.

Mr Harris said he wished "there was more he could do than express his deepest sympathies."

Last August, Mr Harris was fined 180 with 35 costs and given six points on his licence after admitting having defective tyres.

However the court heard the defective tyres were not a factor in the accident.

The inquest continues.




SEE ALSO
Cycle tragedy gritting 'mistake'
20 Jun 07 |  North East Wales
Cycle death driver 'not speeding'
15 Jun 07 |  North East Wales
Cycle death father tells of anger
14 Jun 07 |  North East Wales

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