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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Cumbrian death crash family left ‘devastated’ by court verdict

The mother of two Cockermouth men who died as they cycled home said that her family was devastated following a court case which cleared a bus driver of causing their deaths.

Townend brothers photo
Niggy Townend, left and Christian Townend

Bus driver Robert Wightman, 44, had been accused of causing the deaths of brothers Christian and Niggy Townend as they cycled along the A595. But a jury cleared him earlier this week of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and another two of the lesser one of causing death by careless driving.

The brothers’ mother, Eleanor Ella, was yesterday too upset to say anything more than “the family is devastated” when she was asked for her reaction to the verdict at her Brigham Road home.

Following a four-day trial at Carlisle Crown Court, Judge Paul Batty QC praised the brothers’ family for how they had handled themselves throughout the proceedings.

The brothers, both experienced and talented cyclists, died on Sunday, December 5, 2010 as they cycled along the A595 near Moota Garden Centre.

They were cycling towards Cockermouth shortly before 3pm and planned to meet their mother.

Mr Wightman’s 53-seater coach collided with the men just after the derelict Moota motel.

Speaking last December, a year after her sons’ deaths, Ms Ella said that she felt an “immense sense of outrage” that their lives were taken in such a traumatic fashion and that the family would face a “bleak future” knowing they would never see them again.

“The scale of our tragedy losing two sons together is immense,” she added.

“They were two young men on the threshold of life, full of promise and potential.

“They were bright and exuded an infectious enthusiasm and love of life. Their deaths have had a great impact on every aspect of the lives of their family and their conspicuous absence casts a shadow over all family events.”

Graduate Christian, 29, of High Brigham, Brigham, was a scientific officer for United Utilities.

Niggy, 21, of Moorland Place, Cockermouth, worked at the Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater, and planned to further his university education before starting a career in journalism.


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