An articulated lorry driver has admitted causing the deaths of two Scottish charity cyclists by dangerous driving.
The high achieving pair – Andrew McMenigall and Toby Wallace – were killed shortly after starting a charity ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats last July.
The married dads were struck on the A30 at Newquay, Cornwall, and being struck by a white Renault artic as they cycled in the nearside lane.
The family of Edinburgh born Andrew said: “He excelled in all areas of his life, at Aberdeen Asset Management where he was a senior investment manager in a high performing team, earlier in his life as an officer in the British Army, rugby player and referee, most recently as a triathlete and coach at Edinburgh triathletes, and most importantly as a devoted husband, father and son and brother.”
Toby, 36, went to Cambridge University and was part of two winning teams in the Boat Race and worked in London, Sydney and Philadelphia.
His family said:” He had a remarkable zest for life. He was in peak condition both mentally and physically and was constantly pursuing new challenges from rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic and competing in events such as the World and National Rowing Championships, to riding for 24 hours straight in the World Mountain Bike championships.
“He was a proud Australian Lifesaver and an Australian Surf Ironman, winning both state and National Surf Lifesaving titles. He joined Aberdeen Asset Management in 2000 as a graduate trainee from Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was part of the winning team in two University Boat Races. Toby was a remarkable husband, son, brother anxd friend.”
At Truro Crown Court in Cornwall Robert Palmer, 32, appeared before a judge and admitted three charges.
He pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Wallace by dangerous driving, and the death of Mr McMenigall by dangerous driving on July 2nd last year.
He also admitted a charge of dangerous driving on the A30 at Whiddon Down near Okehampton, Devon, 11 weeks later in September 2013 in another artic lorry.
Palmer, from Bude, Cornwall, was bailed and will be sentenced at a later date.
The two victims took on the bike ride to raise money for the Kirsten Scott Memorial Trust which provides opportunities for young people.
Kirsten was a 25 year old colleague at Aberdeen who lost her fight against cancer just five weeks after she was diagnosed.
Andrew was also raising money for It’s Good 2 Give, an Edinburgh based charity that offers support to young people with cancer and their families. One of his own daughters had been diagnosed with a brain tumour from which she recovered.
Their families praised 999 crews and members of the public at the scene of the crash.
They said: “Members of the public were there when the accident happened and did everything they could to help. The emergency services were at the scene within minutes and did a valiant job.
“It must have been tremendously upsetting for the witnesses and the emergency services.”
The two men had hoped to raise £10,000 for their charities but soon after the tragedy, the total rose to £50,000 with more money pledged.