Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Hit and run cyclist branded ‘cold and callous’

Cyclist who injured woman in collision but carried on riding is branded ‘cold and callous’

A MAN has hit out at a “cowardly” cyclist who hit his wife, seriously injuring her, and then sped off without stopping.

Jeanette Porrett, 66, of South Stoke Road, Woodcote, suffered a blow to the head, whiplash, cuts, friction burns and extensive bruising all over her body following the incident on September 4.

She is still in considerable pain and can only just about get around the house.

It will be some time before she and her husband David can go back out for walks, which they were doing regularly to entertain themselves amid the coronavirus restrictions.

The couple were strolling along Cook Lane towards North Stoke at about 11.30am when the male cyclist appeared seemingly out of nowhere behind them, travelling at about 25mph.

They were walking side-by-side in the left-hand lane so he could easily have passed around them using the oncoming lane.

Instead, he tried and failed to squeeze through the small gap between the Porretts and the grass verge on their left.

He struck Mrs Porrett’s left arm and shoulder with such force that she was spun around before losing her balance and landing on her right side, striking the back of her head hard on the asphalt. This caused a large swelling and has left her with continuous neck pain.

Her hands were cut and bruised so she still struggles to pick up and use household objects.

The cyclist briefly wobbled after the impact but regained his balance and disappeared into the distance without looking back.

Mr Porrett briefly shouted after him but was more concerned about his wife’s injuries.

The 65-year-old said: “We’d been using Cook Lane a lot because it’s nice and quiet. We’re at greater risk from coronavirus and more and more people were out walking in Woodcote so we needed to go where there were fewer people.

“We’d never had any problems before and I couldn’t believe how quickly it happened. Usually cyclists will slow down and ring their bell or call out to warn you but he was absolutely silent — the first thing I heard or saw was the impact.

“Hitting someone is bad enough but you’d have to be horribly callous to just cycle off like that.

“There’s no way on earth he didn’t realise what had happened, especially with me shouting ‘Stop! stop!’ behind him. There was plenty of room to overtake us so I can’t begin to imagine what he was thinking. He pedalled off as fast as he could afterwards and I think he turned right into the village, so I imagine he went on to the Ridgeway from there.

“It was such a terrible shock because we’d done that walk so many times before and enjoyed it.”

Mrs Porrett was in shock and couldn’t stand up so the occupants of a neighbouring house, who had seen the incident, came out with a blanket to drape over her and called the police and an ambulance.

Officers took statements, although the couple were unable to give a detailed description of the offender as the incident had happened so quickly.

Mrs Porrett was taken by ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. An X-ray and CT scan found she had suffered “significant” soft tissue damage but no life-threatening injuries so she was released that evening.

Her husband couldn’t accompany her in the ambulance because of social distancing regulations, which he says added to his wife’s distress.

Mr Porrett said: “She was seriously injured and all on her own, which must have been really upsetting.

“I don’t know if we’ll find this man but perhaps he told someone who might be able to report it. The police have been very helpful throughout this but, of course, they can only act on what information is available. Jeanette is bruised all over and her hands are black and blue so she can hardly grip things more than a week after the incident. It’s very distressing and she still can’t bring herself to talk about it, which is upsetting for me too.

“We were walking for an hour or two almost daily before this happened, which is important because staying within four walls isn’t healthy for your mind or your body. There’s no way she can do that now so things will be difficult and I do wonder how long it will take to get back to normal.

“It’s also a reminder to take care when you’re on a bike, especially because so many more people are out on them now.

“I recognise that the vast majority of cyclists are decent people and only a tiny minority are ruining it for everyone else but that man was going full tilt and it goes to show the damage you can do.

“If the individual concerned is reading this, you are a cold, callous, sorry excuse for a human being.”

Thames Valley Police confirmed they were investigating and appealed for anyone with information to call 101, quoting reference number 43200276955.

They also appealed to the cyclist to make contact.

It is thought the cyclist was middle-aged, of average build and weight and with medium-length wavy grey and black hair, wearing a blue and yellow cycling strip with a helmet, His bike may have been red.

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