Van courier who knocked down and killed cyclist ‘misjudged’ overtaking

The barrister of a van driver who knocked down and killed a cyclist has told jurors his client will live with the burden of what he has done for the rest of his life - but asked them to find his driving was not dangerous. Courier Vasile Barbu struck triathlete Rebecca Comins on the A40 near Raglan as she took part in a Monmouthshire[1] Wheelers time trial - she was thrown from her bike and suffered catastrophic chest injuries. Barbu admits causing the death of the 52-year-old by careless driving but denies the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving and is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

It is the prosecution case that Mrs Comins was "there to be seen" as she rode along a straight stretch of the A40 on June 2, 2022, and would have been visible to the defendant for some 500m before the collision. The prosecution say that Barbu was not trying to manoeuvre around the cyclist at the time of the collision but drove directly into the back of her bike and that his "gross error of judgement" amounts to dangerous driving. You can read the prosecution case here[2][3]

The 49-year-old defendant exercised his right not to give evidence at the trial but in his closing speech his barrister Tim Pole asked the jury to put emotion to one side and to consider the evidence dispassionately.

He invited the jurors to consider the context of the incident - slow-moving cyclists taking part in a race and vehicles travelling at motorway speeds on the dual carriageway - and told them it was their job to assess the standard of the defendant's driving, not the consequences of that driving. Mr Pole said the defendant had safely passed half a dozen other cyclists taking part in the road race before encountering Mrs Comins and said there had been no concerns about the standard of his driving at that stage - though he accepted one of the cyclists reported Barbu "buzzed" him or passed him at quite close quarters. The barrister said the reality was that though they should not, people do drive too close to cyclists, adding if they were all charged with dangerous driving every time it happened the next government would have to build new courts to accommodate the large number of cases.

He noted there was no evidence as to exactly where in the carriageway either the bike or the defendant's van were at the point of the fatal collision.

Picture of Rebecca Comins on her time trial bicycleMum-of-two Rebecca Comins was killed on the A40 near Raglan when she was it by a van being driven by Vasile Barbu

The defence barrister said his client had given a full and open account of what happened in his police interview and said he had accepted that as he manoeuvred around Mrs Comins he had not left enough space. He said: "Mr Barbu's case is that he went to go around the bike but for some reason misguided it. He accepts he has done wrong - it is a burden he will have to live with for the rest of his life." The barrister described the incident as a "tragic accident" for which Mr Barbu was at fault but he invited the jury to find his driving did not amount to dangerous driving.

He told jurors if they had not been made sure the driving had been dangerous they should acquit. After the closing speeches and the judge's summing up the jury retired to begin its deliberations. Vasile Barbu, of Old Hereford Way, Abergavenny, denies causing death by dangerous driving and the trial continues.

This interactive tool allows you to check the latest crime statistics for your area


  1. ^ Monmouthshire (
  2. ^ Cardiff Crown Court (
  3. ^ You can read the prosecution case here (
  4. ^ TikTok stalker fantasised about abducting and sexually torturing woman (
  5. ^ Woman bit boy at popular Welsh music festival (