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Cyclist denies brake would have changed outcome of death crash

Former courier Charlie Alliston was 18 years old when he hit Kim Briggs as she crossed Old Street, east London, last year.

A young cyclist accused of killing a mother-of-two by ploughing into her on a racing bike has insisted having brakes would have made no difference.

Former courier Charlie Alliston was 18 years old when he hit Kim Briggs as she crossed Old Street, east London, on February 12 last year.

The 44-year-old HR consultant, who had been on her lunch break, suffered “catastrophic” head injuries and died in hospital a week later – while Alliston, now 20, later blamed her for the collision in posts online.

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(Crown Prosecution Service)

The court heard he had once compared riding a “fixie” – a fixed wheel track bike with no front brake, which is not legal on the road– to being in a movie.

Prosecutors say the collision could have been avoided had a front brake been fitted – a legal requirement Alliston claims he was not aware of.

“Having a brake, I wouldn’t have had enough time to pull it,” he said.

“It was a few split seconds prior to the impact, which caused the impact, so a brake at the time wouldn’t have made a difference.”

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Charlie Alliston (John Stillwell/PA)

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC said: “Is your position, had you been on a butcher’s bike, with the world’s best brakes, this would still have happened?”

“Yes,” said Alliston. “I made the necessary adjustments to my speed.”

Alliston, from Bermondsey, is on trial at the Old Bailey where he denies manslaughter and causing bodily harm to Mrs Briggs by “wanton or furious driving” under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.

He took to the witness stand on Thursday wearing a white shirt and skinny black jeans.

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(John Stillwell/PA)

The court heard he worked as a courier for three different companies based in central London for around six to eight months from mid-2015, having dropped out of sixth form, where he was studying photography and business studies.

He told jurors he used the same Cinelli brand fixed-gear road/track bike, making around 20 deliveries a day.

While he did put a front brake on the cycle “at times”, Alliston talked of removing it in a tweet in February 2015, comparing the experience of riding it to being in a “Lucas Brunelle movie”.

The court heard that the stunt cyclist makes “alleycat” videos, in which he rides around cities including London “doing dangerous stuff” such as weaving in and out of traffic, narrowly avoiding pedestrians and going into bus lanes.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC suggested: “The thing you felt like when you took your brakes off was you were in one of those films.”

But Alliston denied copying the film-maker, telling jurors: “I wouldn’t say I drove recklessly or at any time dangerously.

“At all times I would know what I’m doing and completely responsible for my actions.”

He added: “I did not get a kick or enjoyment out of not being safe”

The trial continues on Friday.

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