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Criminal Law: Parents campaign for harsher penalties for cyclists

The parents of a young girl killed when she was struck by a cyclist are campaigning for cyclists to be treated in the same way as motorists when they cause a death on the road.

Rhiannon Bennett, who was 17-years old when she died, was on the footpath when Jason Howard, from Buckingham, crashed into her. She struck her head on the pavement and died six days later from her injuries.

Rhiannon's parents Michael and Dianna were horrified when Mr Howard only received a fine of £2,200 for dangerous cycling. They have been campaigning for a change in the law that would see cyclists punished in the same way as motorists and motorcyclists for injuries and deaths caused whilst cycling.

Their local MP, Andrea Leadsom, is to introduce a new Commons Bill on the issue. Michael and Dianna Bennett will be in the gallery at the House of Commons in order to hear the introduction.

Rhiannon's parents believe Mr Howard should have been charged with manslaughter, however the Crown Prosecution Service found that there was not sufficient evidence to convict him.

At the trial, Aylesbury's magistrates heard how Mr Howard had yelled at Rhiannon to "move because I'm not going to stop" before crashing into her.

Andrea Leadsom said: "Imagine if a motorist had mounted the pavement and killed a school girl as she chatted to her friends." She added that there would have been a national outcry if a motorist had only received a fine for the same actions.

Related links:

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(BBC)
Learn about manslaughter (FindLaw)
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