A VAN driver wept in court as he denied causing the death of a cyclist.
Elizabeth Brown, 43, died instantly when her bicycle was hit from behind on the A189 Spine Road, near Cramlington, as she travelled to work.
Daniel Mackay, who denies causing her death by careless driving, wept as he took to the witness stand in front of a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
The 24-year-old, of Cross Street, Houghton, said he had not seen Miss Brown.
He told the court a van in front of him suddenly swerved to the right as he took the slip road exit where he hit the cyclist.
The prosecution alleges he was driving too close to the van in front when the accident happened and should have been able to prevent the collision.
But Mackay yesterday insisted it was not his driving that led to the fatal crash.
“All I can remember is the van in front pulling out urgently and straightaway in front of me was the cyclist,” he said.
Mackay was heading to work in Bedlington and taking the slip road when the accident happened, at 7.15am on April 13 last year.
Miss Brown, who was just days away from her 44th birthday and engaged to be married, was on her way to Wansbeck District Hospital, where she worked as a physiotherapist.
The experienced rider and triathlete was wearing high-visibility clothes and visored helmet. She also had reflectors fitted to her cycle.
Mackay had no traces of drink or drugs in his system and had not been speeding, the court heard.
He said: “There was a car in front.
“It moved to one side and a cyclist was there. I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t turn to avoid her.”