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Blackfriars Bridge death: bus driver jailed

A judge said that controversial road markings were a "contributory factor" in the death of cyclist Vicki McCreery as he jailed bus driver Michael Duncan for a year.

The judge said: "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."

Judge Simon Davies said that 22-year-old Michael Duncan, driver of the route 100 single-deck bus, was guilty of a "momentary lapse" of concentration.

St Thomas' Hospital physiotherapist Vicki 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, prosecuting, said that had the defendant been "looking where he was going", the accident on 10 May last year would never have happened.

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 managers about his lack of confidence with the route.

But his line manager at the Stagecoach-owned East London Bus and Coach Company had 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".

It was against that background that the Monday afternoon collision took place, she added.

The judge said that Davies, of South Mall, Lower Edmonton, 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 a jail sentence.

• Last month Transport for London revealed plans for a new road layout on Blackfriars Bridge

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