A LORRY driver who killed two cyclists, including an Edinburgh financier on a charity bike ride, left another motorist badly injured after crashing on the same road while on bail.
Robert Palmer knocked down and killed 47-year-old Andrew McMenigall – an Edinburgh-based father-of-two and senior manager for global investment firm Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) – on the busy A30 near Newquay in Cornwall.
Fellow AAM worker Toby Wallace, 36, also died during the incident, which occurred on July 2 last year.
Palmer, 32, was arrested and charged over the fatal collision before being released on bail, a court in Truro heard.
Just two months later he was involved in another accident which left a motorist with serious injuries on the same road near Okehampton in Devon.
At the time of his death, Mr McMenigall, a former British soldier, had been senior investment manager for AAM since 2003. A keen sportsman, he was also vice-president of Edinburgh Triathletes where he had coached Olympic stars for the previous seven years.
Mr Wallace was a graduate of Jesus College Cambridge and based in the American city of Philadelphia, where he worked for AAM as a senior relationship manager.
Both men were cycling 960 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for the Kirsten Scott Memorial Trust in memory of a former colleague when the smash happened. Palmer admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and a further charge of causing serious injuries to another driver on September 21 last year.
The HGV driver, from Bude, Cornwall, was released on conditional bail and banned from driving ahead of sentencing on September 1.
Paying tribute to Mr McMenigall and Mr Wallace after the accident, Martin Gilbert, AAM chief executive, said: “They were dedicated and popular members of our senior team.
“The fact that they died in such tragic circumstances while trying to help others less fortunate tells you much about their selflessness and humanity.”
The heartbroken widows of the two men today described their husbands as “exceptional and giant men”.
AMr Wallace’s widow Claire, originally from Banchory, Aberdeenshire and Mr McMenigall’s widow Anne, released a joint statement.
Describing their devastation, the two woman criticised “lenient” UK transport laws and called for better conditions for cyclists on the roads.
Mrs Wallace, who married her husband in Banchory in 2005, and Mrs McMenigall said: “There are no words to describe the devastation and loss that we, and both families, feel following the deaths of our husbands, they were exceptional and giant men in every sense of the word.
“It is a tragedy that so many other families are also mourning loved ones who have been killed on Britain’s roads, particularly when many of these deaths were completely avoidable.
“So many of these families do not ever see this charge brought against the person who has killed their husband, their child, their brother, their father.
“UK transport laws are lenient, charges are difficult and onerous to attain and less and less resource is being dedicated to road traffic collisions.
“We would like to thank everyone who has supported us and been involved in getting us this far.
“Toby and Andrew loved cycling, we believe that the rise in the popularity of the sport must be met by those with the responsibility to improve our transport infrastructure and improve education for drivers.”