The Inquest

The aim of an inquest is to determine a cause of death; it doesn’t determine a guilty party. The inquest was led by the Deputy Coroner of West London, Dr Shirley Radcliffe.

Eilidh’s family and friends were not convinced that the coroner fully investigated the cause of death, nor that she adequately applied her powers under Rule 43 to make recommendations to prevent further similar deaths.

This is relevant as the coroner concluded that this type of death was ‘not an uncommon occurrence’, and yet also concluded that there was no factor of the crash which made her believe that it ‘illustrated a systemic problem or that it might call for some response’. So whilst the coroner acknowledged the dangerous state of London’s roads, she neglected to apply her powers to make recommendations to do anything about it, directly putting more people at risk.

The family won permission for an application for a Judicial Review of the inquest, as the case was deemed in the public interest. The Judicial Review was refused at High Court, with Sir Justice Silber accepting the coroner’s argument that there were ‘no practical preventative measures’ which could have been applied.

See Me Save Me has since written a briefing for coroners, and continues to campaign for their education and training on road crash deaths, and the many mitigating measures which may be applied to reduce lorry danger to vulnerable road users. Four years later, in Jan 2014, Dr Shirley Radcliffe ruled on the death of Dr Katherine Giles, and yet again failed to make any recommendations to prevent further similar deaths.

 

Media reports on the Inquest

BBC: Eilidh Cairns cycling death – Sister loses inquest bid

Martin Porter QC, The Cycling Silk: Was the inquest into her death adequate?

Daily Mail: HGV driver with bad eyesight who killed TV producer on her bicycle fined just £200