Case Study

Two trials fail to reach a verdict in case of Peter Stubbs

Incident date: 
Tue, 4 May 2010

Peter Stubbs, 58, was a CTC member and highly experienced cyclist. He was hit by Charlie Willbourne on the A20 in 2010, dying from his injuries in hospital shortly thereafter.

Father-of-two Mr Stubbs was described as an experienced cyclist and was wearing black athletic trousers, a red top and a yellow high visibility vest. He was on his way home to St Mary’s Way in Longfield when the incident occurred.

Prosecutor Anthony Prosser told the jury of six men and six women that the force of the impact buckled the rear wheel of the bike. Mr Stubbs was thrown over the car before landing in the road near the verge. His cycle was also thrown into the air and lost its front wheel.

Other motorists tried to help Mr Stubbs but he was unconscious and they could not find a pulse. He died from his injuries in a London hospital.

The driver claimed that she had been “blinded” by the sun but admitted later to prosecutors that she was still able to see the white lines on the road.

When formally interviewed two months after the fatal collision Willbourne said in a prepared statement that as she drove up the hill she accelerated into fifth gear. However, the sun glare caused her to slow down.

The court heard another motorist travelling the same route just a few minutes later told police the low sun made visibility “almost zero” and he had to slow down to between 5 and 10mph.

The prosecution alleged that Willbourne, driving at 42mph in fifth gear, would have had sufficient time to see Mr Stubbs as she drove along the 530m straight stretch of road.

After juries in two separate trials at Maidstone Crown Court failed to reach a verdict on the charge of causing death by careless driving, it was decided not to proceed with a third trial.

Mr Stubbs’ daughter, Kate Warne, has blasted the court’s decision. She said: “To completely describe the impact that dad’s death has had on our family life is impossible.

“We’ll be suffering every day for the rest of our lives because of it.

“The current system is allowing drivers to drive a tonne or more of metal at inappropriate speeds for the road conditions.

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