Friday 11 February 2005 5.02pm
Transport chiefs were criticised by a top judge today as he jailed a rookie bus driver for a year for crushing a woman cyclist under his wheels.
He said they should "cut through superfluous bureaucracy" and ensure the bus and cycle lanes over London's busy Blackfriars Bridge
played no part in such a tragedy again.
Judge Simon Davies said while 22-year-old Michael Duncan was guilty of a "momentary lapse" of concentration, the layout of road markings was a contributory factor.
Physiotherapist Victoria McCreery, who had earlier expressed her concerns about the design to friends, was on her way from work when the crowded five ton single-decker rammed her from behind.
The Australian-born 37-year-old, married just a year earlier, "must have died almost instantly", Inner London Crown Court was told.
Andrew Espley (CORRECT), prosecuting, said that had the defendant been "looking where he was going", the accident, on May 10 last year, would never have happened.
But defence barrister Michelle Fawcett said just hours before the 26mph collision her client, who had only held a full licence for a year and a bus driver's licence for 52 days, had spoken to one of his bosses about his lack of confidence with the route.
But his line manager at the east London bus and coach company and showed little concern.
"Instead of receiving sympathy or being assigned to a different route he was more confident with, he was simply informed to take a map with him and do his best," she said.
He was then warned that "if he did not comply his employment would be terminated".
Mrs McCreery's husband, Sandy, a Middlesex University lecturer in "spatial culture", sat at the back of the court as the judge told his wife's killer: "I accept entirely that your remorse ... was and remains 100% genuine.
"In cases of this kind, always, always tragic, it has been my experience there are aspects to weigh up on both sides.
The judge continued: "I have no doubt that the layout on that bridge on that day was a contributory factor.
"It is not appropriate now for me to make comments about what I hope for the future of that layout of that bridge, save to say this: if there is anything positive that I can hope for that might emerge from this case in that respect, it is that those advisers get on with the job, cut through what may otherwise be superfluous bureaucracy to ensure, at least on that part of the roads in London, this never happens again."
He said Duncan, of South Mall, Lower Edmonton, north London, was a person of undoubted "integrity and trustworthiness", who deserved credit for admitting causing death by dangerous driving.
But although he was guilty of a simple "lapse, a momentary, dangerous error of judgment", there were no exceptional circumstances which could save him from jail.