Oxford Parkway El Len Tham death court trial begins
Trucker James Lindsay drove over 44-year-old El Len Tham, also known as Ellen Moilanen, during the morning rush-hour of February 8 last year as he entered a shared cycle, bus, and taxi lane outside Oxford Parkway railway station.
The 46-year-old lorry driver yesterday went on trial accused of causing the death of Ms Tham by careless driving.
He denies the allegation and maintains he had no choice but to enter the bus lane before its end in order to reach his destination at the Park and Ride.
Prosecutor Daren Samat told the jury sitting at Oxford Crown Court: "This case is about a fatal road traffic collision which took place on February 8 last year.
"On that day, El Len Tham was cycling along the shared footway and cycle path on the A4165 going towards Oxford.
"As she approached the crossing near the Park and Ride, she checked over her right shoulder twice to begin the process of moving into the shared bus, taxi, and cycle lane - which is clearly marked both by signs and white markings on the road saying 'bus lane.'
"As Ms Tham entered that shared lane she appears to have been unaware of a large goods vehicle which made its way across the white lane marking into the shared cycle lane.
"Regrettably, the result of the cyclist and the large goods vehicle going into the bus lane at approximately the same time, was a collision.
"Ms Tham suffered multiple injuries to her body, particularly around the pelvis area which suggest that a wheel of the lorry had driven over her at that point."
Mr Samat added: "Mercifully perhaps, she died instantly at the scene."
After the collision, Lindsay brought his lorry to a stop and got out of the vehicle to check what had happened, thinking that "something had fallen from the lorry" according to his later interview with police officers.
"This is when two ladies approached to console him - and he glanced back and could see what had happened", said Mr Samat.
The jury was shown "harrowing films" of the collision captured by the lorry's front and side dashcams, which they will have to examine in order to determine whether Lindsay's driving fell below the standards of care, hence causing Ms Tham's death.
Lindsay, of Rackheath near Norwich in Norfolk, had been working in the Oxford area for about four weeks prior to the tragic incident.
He denies the allegation and says he had to move into the bus lane before the end of it in order to turn into the Kidlington Park and Ride, which was his destination that morning.
A co-worker of Lindsay who drove another lorry just in front of his on the day of the incident, could be seen doing a similar manoeuvre on the vehicle's dashcam.
Defence barrister Ian Bridge told the jury: "As they approach the Kidlington Park and Ride, both of them moved across into the bus lane before the end of it.
"The issue for you is to determine whether in doing that, their driving amounted to careless driving and that careless driving caused the death of Mrs Tham."
Judge Nigel Daly also told the jury that the only matter at issue in the trial was not Ms Tham's death, but Lindsay's driving.
He said: "There is a death involved in this case. That is very sad, whichever way you look at it. But if it raises emotions, you must set those emotions aside and judge the case on the facts."
Ms Tham was described as "resourceful, funny, kind, to the point, and endlessly patient" in a statement released by the University of Oxford's Reuben College where she worked as an administrator.
The university said: "Never could the college expect to have been blessed with such a wonderful colleague and never could we have dreamed she would be taken so suddenly.
"Our thoughts are with her husband Karo, family, friends and with all those for whom and with whom she worked so happily.
"Ellen will be fondly remembered as a friend to all."
The trial continues.
- ^ Oxford Botley Road disruption to now last 'until 2025' (www.oxfordmail.co.uk)