Crown loses appeal against 'lenient' cyclist death sentence

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Crown loses appeal against 'lenient' cyclist death sentence

The Crown has lost its appeal against the sentencing of a motorist convicted of killing two cyclists in separate incidents, which it felt was unduly lenient.

49-year-old Gary McCourt was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving in April, after he clipped the rear wheel of Audrey Fyfe's bike in Edinburgh in 2011.

75-year-old Fyfe died in hospital two days after the collision.

McCourt's sentence of a five-year driving ban and 300 hours of community service was criticised by Fyfe's family and cycling charity CTC as being too lenient, after it emerged that McCourt had previously been convicted of causing the death of another cyclist in Edinburgh in 1985.

Their solicitor argued that McCourt should receive a custodial sentence and be banned from driving for life, and that the trial judge had not followed sentencing guidelines.

An appeal against the sentence was lodged but was yesterday refused by Edinburgh's Court of Criminal Appeal, stating that the judge had passed an appropriate sentence using common sense, based on the facts of the case.

Speaking on the outcome, Mrs Fyfe's daughter, Aileen Brown, said she was "lost for words".

"I was devastated at the original decision.

"I just can't believe that having got as far as the appeal, and the appeal judges admitting that mum's not wearing a helmet was of no consequence, that this driver is still going to be back on our roads in five years' time.

"We won't get mum back. We've been sentenced to a life without mum."

CTC echoed her sentiments, saying it was "extremely disappointed" with the verdict.