Prosecutors say dropping trial against driver in Stuart Price death was 'appropriate decision'

Stuart Price, from Murton, died after he was knocked from his bicycle.
Stuart Price, from Murton, died after he was knocked from his bicycle.

Prosecutors have said dropping legal proceedings against a driver involved in the death of cyclist Stuart Price was the "appropriate decision".

Lisa Maher denied causing death by careless driving after her vehicle collided with Sunderland Royal Hospital worker Stuart Price has he rode his bike on Colliery Lane, Easington Lane, in February 2017.

Lisa Maher pictured outside South Tyneside Magistrates' Court during an earlier hearing.

Lisa Maher pictured outside South Tyneside Magistrates' Court during an earlier hearing.

The 50-year-old, from Western Terrace in Murton - Stuart's home village - had been due to stand trial starting yesterday.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Newcastle Crown Court that it had dropped the charges against her.

Read more: Driver cleared of causing death of cyclist Stuart Price in 'terrible accident'

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court there was "no realistic prospect of conviction in this case."

Tributes left to Stuart Price close to the scene of the collision which claimed his life.

Tributes left to Stuart Price close to the scene of the collision which claimed his life.

He also said: "This was an incident which is perhaps best described as an unfortunate and terrible accident.

The CPS met with Stuart's family days before the hearing to explain the decision.

His mum Deborah Dobie, 54, had appealed against the decision twice as she called for the prosecution to press ahead.

Yesterday, she said: "As a family we have to accept their decision, but it's obviously not what we wanted."

There was a huge turn out of friends and family at the funeral of Stuart Price.

There was a huge turn out of friends and family at the funeral of Stuart Price.

She added it had helped bring them some closure two years on from the collision.

Read more: 'We are devastated' say family of Sunderland fan Stuart Price after woman is cleared of death charge

Stuart, who worked in the medical records department of the Kayall Road hospital, also left stepdad John, 67, dad Stuart, 61, and stepmum Marion, brother James, 24, and sister Jade, 30.

Today, the CPS has given a fuller explanation about why the case was dropped.

A spokesperson said: “To prove an offence of causing death by careless driving, it must be demonstrated that the standard of driving on the part of a defendant has fallen below that which should be expected of a competent road user.

"In this case the police collision investigation, which was hampered by the absence of reliable independent witnesses, was unable to establish the relative positions of the car and bicycle in the moments prior to the crash.

“Initially, the CPS took the decision not to prosecute this case, but that decision was subsequently overturned as a result of an independent review, with a trial date then set.

"The Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS North East, Andrew Penhale, conducted a further review of the case wherein it became clear that the issue of carelessness could not be proven to the high standard required for a criminal prosecution.

"As a result of this, the appropriate decision was taken to offer no further evidence.

"The CPS met with the family of Stuart Price to explain the reasons for this and our thoughts remain with them at what must be a difficult time.”