Was He Really Fit to Drive? Campaigning MEP Speaks of Her Horror as Driver Whose Lorry Killed North East Woman Is Involved in a Second Fatal Accident

The Journal (Newcastle, England), October 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

Was He Really Fit to Drive? Campaigning MEP Speaks of Her Horror as Driver Whose Lorry Killed North East Woman Is Involved in a Second Fatal Accident


Byline: Brian Daniel

THE driver of an HGV who killed a Northumberland woman is suspected of being involved in a second fatal collision, it has emerged.

Joao Lopes, who was at the wheel of a lorry which killed Eilidh Cairns, is un1derstood to have been questioned in connection with the death of a 97-year-old woman. Lopes escaped a driving ban despite admitting and being convicted of a charge in relation to the crash in which Eilidh died.

Now he has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving in relation to a second incident.

A North East MEP last night said the development was "worrying, appalling and very upsetting."

Eilidh, 30, who was born and brought up in the Ellingham and Alnwick areas and attended the town's Duchess High School, lived in London.

She was killed after being knocked off her bike by Lopes' wagon as she cycled to the television production company where she worked, in February 2009.

Lopes, then 54 and living at Dagenham, was charged with driving while his eyesight was such that he could not comply with the requirements of a prescribed eye test, in relation to Eilidh's death.

The driver, originally from Portugal, initially pleaded not guilty to the charge but changed that to guilty on the day he was due to stand trial at Kingston Magistrates' Court in London.

He was given a pounds 200 fine, had three penalty points added to his licence, was ordered to pay pounds 150 costs and a pounds 15 surcharge, but was spared a driving ban.

Ninety-seven-year-old Nora Gutmann settled in London after fleeing Nazi Germany prior to the Second World War. She was hit by a wagon while on a pedestrian crossing opposite Madame Tussauds in London in June.

Lopes is said to have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police in the wake of the incident. He is understood to have been bailed several times since. …

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