Cyclist's family fury at fine for death crash

THE family of a champion cyclist killed after crashing into a pick-up while training for Olympic selection have hit out at the £500 fine handed to the driver.

Jason MacIntyre, 34, struck the rear of the Transit van driven by Robert McTaggart, who was also given a six-month ban for careless driving.

Mr MacIntyre's widow, Caroline, wept yesterday as the details of the tragedy on the outskirts of Fort William on 15 January were read out at the town's sheriff court.

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And his family later attacked the sentence, claiming McTaggart, 36, a Highland council worker, should have been jailed. They believe the Crown Office should have pursued a prosecution for the more serious charges of culpable homicide or causing death by dangerous driving.

David MacIntyre, Jason's father, revealed officials had refused an appeal from the family to have the charge raised from careless driving.

Mr MacIntyre, a triple British and Scottish champion, had just won funding to train for the 2010 Commonwealth Games when he was killed. He was also on the shortlist for this week's Olympics in Beijing. Last year, he broke cycling legend Graham Obree's ten-mile time trial record.

Alison Wyllie, the procurator-fiscal, said he would have been travelling at about 30mph when he collided with the truck, which was turning into a junction across the carriageway on the A82, into the cyclist's path. At that speed, the fiscal claimed McTaggart, who told police he hadn't seen Mr MacIntyre, had up to 16 seconds to notice the cyclist in front of him.

She said: "McTaggart did not stop. The cyclist struck the near-side back panel of the pick-up. McTaggart heard a bang, drove a short distance and stopped."

Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood handed down a six-month driving ban and

fined McTaggart 500, reduced from 650 for the early plea of guilty.

Outside court, Mr MacIntyre snr read out a statement on behalf of his family: "

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There is to be no justice for Jason and no justice for his family. McTaggart should have faced charges of culpable homicide or causing death by dangerous driving. He should be in jail.

"Jason would have been in his vision for 16 seconds. This was not a momentary loss of concentration."

He said the fiscal had recommended more serious charges but he claimed: "The Crown Office changed that to careless driving. We lodged an unsuccessful appeal. We are of the view this standard of driving falls way below normal standard and is a more serious charge."

He said the family also want the law changed immediately to introduce a charge of causing death by careless driving, which is currently in place in England and Wales, and under consideration in Scotland.