Lorry driver charged over Battersea cycle death of award-winning design student

·2-min read
29-year-old Gio Cappiello was an outstanding interior design student at University of the Arts London.
29-year-old Gio Cappiello was an outstanding interior design student at University of the Arts London.

A construction firm boss has been charged with killing an award-winning interior design student when she was knocked off her bike by a cement lorry.

Stephen Hempenstall, 49, is accused of causing the death by careless driving of 29-year-old Giovanna Cappiello in a Battersea crash in July 2019.

Ms Cappiello, a student at the University of the Arts in London, was two weeks away from graduating when she died, and had been the first on her course to achieve A+ grades in both theory and practice.

Paying tribute, UAL’s pro-vice chancellor Professor David Crow said: “She was a highly accomplished student, whose excellent achievements were recognised with the Chartered Society of Designers student award 2019, presented to her at the end of year degree show in June.

“Gio will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew her at Chelsea College of Arts as someone who was always kind, committed, dedicated and humble.

"She had told her course leader how much she was looking forward to her chosen pathway — she said she wanted to make a difference.

“Her loss at the very start of her journey is a huge shock for her friends, her peers, her tutors and everyone in the college. She will be greatly missed.”

Knut Wylde, general manager at the five-star Berkeley Hotel in Belgravia where Ms Cappiello worked, said after the fatal crash: “We have all been very upset to hear the tragic news about our colleague Giovanna Cappiello. She was a popular member of our team and greatly valued within The Berkeley family.”

Hempenstall, a director of a construction firm based in Ickenham, is accused of driving the cement lorry “without due care and attention” prior to crashing into Ms Cappiello in Wandsworth Road, at the junction with Silverthorne Road in Battersea on July 4.

The cyclist was attended to at the scene by paramedics but could not be saved.

Hempenstall’s case has been sent to Old Bailey for a hearing on June 15.

He did not enter a plea to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving when he first appeared at Wimbledon magistrates court on Tuesday, and has been freed on unconditional bail.

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