Lorry driver who caused death of cycling NHS worker spared jail

A lorry driver who struck and killed a young cyclist near the NHS hospital where she worked has been spared jail.

Physiotherapist Anna Garratt-Quinton, 22, died at the scene at a roundabout junction close to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on October 7 last year.

Richard Hardcastle, who was driving a lorry towing a petrol tanker when it struck Miss Garratt-Quinton just before 8am, admitted at an earlier hearing to causing her death by careless driving, Cambridgeshire Police said.

The force said the 28-year-old defendant admitted that he had covered his vehicle’s side-view camera with his coat.

He was sentenced on Tuesday at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court to six months in prison suspended for two years, Cambridgeshire Police said.

Hardcastle, of Westall Close, Hertford, Hertfordshire, was also ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from driving for two years.

Witnesses described how Miss Garratt-Quinton would have been in Hardcastle’s view for several seconds as they both approached the roundabout at the junction of Fendon Road and Hills Road, police said.

However, in an interview, Hardcastle claimed he simply did not see Miss Garratt-Quinton.

He admitted he had hung his coat over the display screen for the side-view camera, Cambridgeshire Police said, and he also said the proximity alarm fitted to the vehicle did not alert him to her presence.

Miss Garratt-Quinton’s mother Sally said, in a statement read in court, that on the weekend of the collision her daughter was due to move into her first home with her boyfriend, police said.

“It’s incredibly unfair that was taken away from her as a result of the negligence of one person,” she said.

She said her daughter graduated with a first-class degree in physiotherapy from Manchester University before starting her job at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge
Miss Garratt-Quinton died near her workplace at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge (Alamy/PA)

Miss Garratt-Quinton’s father, Paul, said the family had been served a life sentence.

“I dull ache most of the time,” he said.

“The thoughts of the life she would have had, running through my mind daily. I miss her deeply and love her so much.

“Children are precious, losing a child is unbearable; taken so soon.

“Those 22 years are a blessing which I will cherish to the end.”

Her boyfriend Jordan Hemsil said: “I fell in love with her perfect smile, her laugh and her amazing outlook on life from our first date.

“We spent an amazing four years together going through hard times and amazing times, she made my life better just by being in it.”

Miss Garratt-Quinton’s family said, in a tribute released through police, that she was “taken from us too soon, a waste of a truly special individual”.

“The kindest soul, gentle and caring to the core,” they said.

“Her giggles, smile and sarcastic wit would light up a room.

“She was dedicated and hardworking, would never take a day off, but if she did you could be sure to find her in her pink spotty dressing gown.

“Effortlessly bright, her patients were lucky to have her. She is and always will be the best daughter, partner, auntie, sister, granddaughter, niece and so much more.

“The list could go on because she was truly beloved by all. Anyone who got to meet our Anna Spanner is truly blessed.”

Detective Constable Paddy Reeve, who investigated, said: “It’s incredibly sad when we have to attend incidents where drivers have made mistakes resulting in tragedy.

“Hardcastle’s driving was clearly careless and it demonstrates how vital it is that people drive in a safe, considerate way to prevent awful instances like this in future.

“We attend these kinds of incidents far too often and many are completely avoidable.”