Jury clears HGV driver over death of dad-to-be cyclist Stuart Elliott in Portobello

A truck driver who struck a cyclist in a fatal collision has walked free from court after a jury cleared him of causing death by careless driving.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 5:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 6:44 pm
Not guilty: John Crowe

John Crowe was at the wheel of a tipper truck when he collided with dad-to-be Stuart Elliott at a busy junction in Portobello, Edinburgh.

Mr Elliott, 40, suffered catastrophic injuries after being knocked from his bike and died at the scene following the accident in March 2019.

Crowe was later arrested and charged with causing the cyclist’s death by driving an HGV without due care and attention and failing to carry out mirror checks and failing to observe him on his bike.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tragedy: Stuart Elliott

The 60-year-old lorry driver denied the allegation and stood trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week and this week.

Following five days evidence from eye-witnesses, police officers and Crowe himself, the truck driver was acquitted by a jury on a majority verdict yesterday. (WED)

After the verdict, Mr Elliott’s family released a statement through legal firm Digby Brown, saying: “The loss of Stuart is a pain we will never come to terms with.

“We thank our friends, loved ones and the community for their support and while we acknowledge the verdict, we are a private family and now request our privacy is respected.”

Previously the court was told Mr Elliott, who was expecting his first child with partner Pamela, was travelling to his work office when he was knocked from his bike at around 10am on March 13, 2019.

The cyclist was said to have suffered severe injuries to his “trunk and legs” and was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

Crowe, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, gave evidence this week and told the court he was indicating to turn left and had “checked my mirrors from left to right as I always do”.

The driver added he did not see Mr Elliott on the road before the collision and after hearing “ a bang” he immediately stopped the vehicle.

Crowe told the court he has been left “devastated” at Mr Elliott’s death and has had trouble sleeping at nights.

Fellow HGV driver Gary Parks, 46, had earlier said he saw the cyclist’s back tyre was “almost on his [Crowe’s] bumper” and said he believed “the cyclist slipped a gear and gave a slight wobble [as he made off].

“When I first saw them I knew it would be really hard for the [truck] driver to see him,” he added.

Mr Crowe was found not guilty by a majority verdict to causing the death of Stuart Elliott by driving an HGV without due care and attention and a failing to carry out mirror checks and failing to observe Mr Elliott on his bike and colliding with him at Portobello High Street and Sir Harry Lauder Road in Edinburgh on March 13, 2019.

Following the incident a GoFundMe page was set up by friends of Mr Elliott’s family and which managed to raise a massive £21,624 to help support his family.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.