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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Cycle death families 'let down'
Accident scene

The families of four cyclists mown down by an out-of-control car say they feel badly let down that the driver had not faced more serious criminal charges.

The families' statement came at the end of a three-week inquest into the deaths near Abergele in Conwy in 2006.

In August, a magistrates' court fined motorist Robert Harris, 47, from Abergele, for having defective tyres.

The coroner has also said he failed to understand why Mr Harris had not been prosecuted for careless driving.

In a joint statement following the inquest verdicts on Wednesday, the families of Thomas Harland, 14, Maurice Broadbent, 61, Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42, said they felt justice had not been served.

Emlyn Williams
Emlyn Williams had not been convinced there was problem

All four were killed while on a winter practice ride with Rhyl Cycling Club on a road which had not been gritted, despite warnings about icy conditions in the area.

Ruling out accidental death, the inquest jury returned a narrative verdict, criticising Robert Harris's driving and highlighting communication failures over road gritting between the police, Conwy and Denbighshire councils.

The families' barrister, William Hoskins, said: "Following 18 months of unanswered questions and delays, which have added to the immense grief, and suffering caused by the tragic deaths of Dave, Maurice, Thomas and Wayne, the families are relieved that the coroner and jury have conducted a thorough investigation into this tragic event.

"Our lawyers on our behalf, made clear to the chief crown prosecutor, our disbelief at the decision not to prosecute Mr Harris for driving offences.

"We remain unhappy with that decision in the light of the evidence heard by the coroner.

Robert Harris
Robert Harris expressed his deepest sympathies to the families

"In fact we feel badly let down by this decision and that justice has not been served."

The statement added: "We feel that in the light of the evidence that was available in the early hours of Sunday morning, the A547 should have been gritted before the fatal accident.

"However, we hope that this tragedy will cause lessons to be learned and that both the highway authorities involved and the police will now take steps to ensure that protocols and procedures are revised to better protect the safety of all road users in the future."

Alan Broadbent, the son of Maurice Broadbent, read an emotional statement on behalf of the families thanking the UK governing body British Cycling - and their lawyers - for their support.

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27 Jun 07 |  North East Wales
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Cycle driver 'wished he was dead'
21 Jun 07 |  North East Wales
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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