Pensioner, 73, sentenced to community order for death of Rainham cyclist

Marjorie Tappenden

Marjorie Tappenden - Credit: Michael Fresco

A pensioner who killed a cyclist was sentenced to a community order today and suspended from driving for three years.

Marjorie Tappenden, of St Ronans Crescent, Woodford Green, who pleaded guilty to death by careless driving, collided with 53-year-old Kevin Lane after pressing the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.

The 74-year-old appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court this afternoon had been driving for 40 years and had a clean driving licence.

Mr Lane, of Maytree Close, Rainham, was returning from a 70 mile practice ride on February 9 last year when Tappenden shot out of the junction of Forest Approach onto Woodford Green High Road.

Karen Robinson, for the prosecution, said: “She panicked as she lost control of her car and Mr Lane got trapped under the car.

“She pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake.

“It happened so quickly and she tried to swerve to avoid him.”

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Tappenden’s husband was a passenger in the car at the time and he told his wife to take her foot off the pedal but she didn’t until the car came to a stop on a grass verge.

He received serious head injuries and died from a cardiac arrest at the scene. Mr Lane was the first cyclist to die on London’s roads in 2014.

Mum-of-two, Rachel Cochoran, who witnessed the incident then heard her say she “meant to press the brake, [she] pressed the wrong pedal”.

Mr Lane’s girlfriend, Angela Cook, speaking in court said: “I have been robbed of Kevin and I miss talking to him so much.

“I met him when I was 22 and have known him for most of my adult life – I don’t know how I can carry on living without him.

“I am now 35 years old and classed as a widow.”

Tappenden is the sole carer of her husband who is “virtually bed bound” with Parkinson’s disease and has been on antidepressants since the incident.

Brenda St Prix, for the defence, told the court that Tappenden had not driven since Mr Lane’s death and has vowed not to drive ever again.

Sentencing, Judge William Kennedy, said: “For reasons which she couldn’t explain when she got to the junction she pressed the wrong pedal.

“Of course it took a few moments for the car to stop and it was these moments that took Mr Lane’s life.”

Tappenden was sentenced to a community order for 12 months, had her licence suspended for three years subject to an extended driving test should she wish to resume it and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £80.