In July of last year I wrote about the deaths of cyclists on London’s roads, and as part of that discussion referred to the crushing under the wheels of a tipper truck of Catriona Patel, who was an experienced sports cyclist as well as London commuter.
Nearly a year and a half later, Dennis Putz, the truck driver responsible for Catriona’s death, has been sentenced to seven years in prison, and disqualified from driving for life. After the jury had delivered its unanimous verdict, it was revealed to the court that Putz is an habitual drink driver with 48 previous convictions, who has been caught some 20 times in 34 years driving a heavy goods vehicle while disqualified. During the evening before the accident involving Catriona, Putz had by his own admission consumed seven pints of stout, and would have been 50% over the legal blood alcohol limit at the time of the morning rush hour incident.
My blog post of 4 July 2009 attracted a comment from “julie”, who described herself as being the partner of the driver involved, and made assertions about Catriona’s cycling which were at odds with the statements of eyewitnesses to the tragedy. This comment caused so much distress to Catriona’s husband Anish, that he wrote to me privately and explained his feelings about the matter. Anish and I have since continued our correspondence.
I was rather busy yesterday, and didn’t see the reports of Putz’s trial outcome until Anish contacted me in the evening. Painful though any consideration of Catriona’s death is, I was particularly pleased to hear the news from Anish, who has finally achieved justice for his “wonderful Cat”. This will hopefully help him and the two families as they get on with life without their loved one. The prosecution of Dennis Putz delivered a good result, even though no amount of legal justice can make up for the human loss.