11 July 2024

Cyclist cleared of ‘wanton or furious driving’ after hitting 81-year-old woman

11 July 2024

A cyclist has been found not guilty of causing bodily harm to an 81-year-old woman by “wanton or furious” cycling.

Edward Bressan hit 81-year-old Polly Friedhoff with his bike on a towpath near Iffley Lock in Oxford on the afternoon of November 20 2022, Oxford Crown Court heard.

Ms Friedhoff died in hospital 12 days after the incident.

The prosecution said the cyclist was “reckless” and told the jury “the case concerns the nature of Mr Bressan’s driving of his bicycle”.

However, Mr Bressan, 56, of Newton Road, Oxford, was cleared of the charge.

He appeared emotionless in the dock as the verdict was returned.

Ms Friedhoff’s friend Ewa Huggins, who had joined her on their routine stroll, said the incident happened suddenly and her friend was “catapulted with incredible force”.

Kuljeet Dobe, defending, suggested that Mr Bressan was cycling behind the women and travelling at a pace that was “little more than walking speed”.

Mr Dobe added: “I’m going to suggest that he did ring his bell and you moved a bit further to the right-hand side, you said something to Polly and she moved suddenly but moved to the left suddenly and that was when his bike made contact with her and that is when she fell.”

Mr Dobe also suggested that Ms Friedhoff did not fall across the towpath but fell more or less where the contact was made.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox