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Driver accused of killing cyclist in crowdfunded prosecution

Gail Purcell (face covered)
Gail Purcell (face covered)

A woman has appeared in court accused of killing a 70-year-old cyclist after a private prosecution case against her was crowdfunded by a charity.

Gail Purcell, 58, hit teacher Michael Mason in her black Nissan Juke during evening rush hour on London's Regent Street in February 2014.

Mr Mason died 19 days later, having never regained consciousness from the injuries he sustained in the collision.

Purcell appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday charged with death by careless driving.

Micahel Mason

Wearing a black shirt, she stood to confirm her name and age, before indicating she intended to plead not guilty.

Prosecutor Michael Goodwin told the court that it was a "complex" and "serious" case that should be heard in crown court.

Previously, the Met Police twice decided not to refer the case against Purcell to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In response, a private prosecution was brought against her by charity Cycling UK, which started the Cyclists' Defence Fund, a campaigning body which, in part, focuses on providing legal assistance to cyclists.

Through an online fundraising drive, it collected more than £60,000 from 1,500 donors to finance the case.

The defendant was told her case would be heard in Southwark Crown Court on October 11.

She was given unconditional bail until her next appearance.