Alan Barnett - Hit & Run Survivor
I was riding home from a meeting on Wednesday last week, when I saw a couple of guys at the roadside. One of them had a bike and a trailer, so I stopped to say hello and to hand out a “Please join us” card for the Newcastle Cycling Campaign:
It turns out that this is Alan Barnett, who’s an extensive fund-raiser for the Chris Lucas Trust - organisers of The Great North Bike Ride.
It’s the same Alan Barnett who was deliberately run down by driver Peter Rowell in June 2009.
The attack left Alan with two broken legs (one of which may yet need re-setting), a broken arm, numerous cracked ribs, and in a coma for 6½ months. When he regained consciousness he only had sight in one eye for several months, and he has some permanent brain damage - even now his speech is a little slow and a little slurred.
There had apparently been some altercation between Alan and Rowell before the near-fatal assault. Rowell had then driven his car onto the pavement in pursuit of Alan, who had fled back onto the road again. It was there that Rowell deliberately rammed him from behind, before leaving the scene and trying to get the damage to his car repaired so as to cover up his actions.
How do we know all this?
The car behind Rowell’s was a taxi, which was fitted with video recording equipment. The whole thing was caught on film. It is believed that it was only the prospect of the jury seeing this film that led Rowell to eventually plead guilty on the day his trial at the crown court was due to start.
For pleading guilty, he was awarded some credit in sentencing, so eventually received a custodial term of just 18 months. Look at the list of injuries to Alan Barnett, and tell me that this represents any kind of justice.
It seems that 18 months is the going rate for deliberately assaulting a cyclist with a vehicle - especially when you’re caught on film. Like Gavin Hill’s attempt to kill Phillip Mead with his bus in Bristol. The CCTV footage of this was used in the court case, and has been doing the rounds this week:
One last thing - when I wrote my original post about Peter Rowell’s assault, I had some fairly unpleasant comments from “Team Rowell” which fell below the standards that I can accept. If “Team Rowell” is reading this, please don’t bother to comment again - your justifications and claims of a fit up / conspiracy will not be given a public airing here. In my view, 18 months is long enough only to add insult to Alan Barnett’s injuries, and you should be ashamed for thinking otherwise.