Jailed: Cyclist who rode off after fatal collision with 'gentleman', 72
- Credit: Metropolitan Police
The family of a "complete gentleman” who died after a cyclist jumped a red light and crashed into the 72-year-old say their loss is “immeasurable”.
Peter McCombie, a human resources administrator, died on July 11 last year from injuries he sustained eight days earlier after he was struck by a cyclist, who then fled the scene, in Bow.
Ermir Loka, 23, of Waltham Forest, was convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court on July 15 of causing bodily harm by wanton/furious driving.
For this charge, Loka was sentenced to two years in prison, which will take into account time served while on remand. The 23-year-old was found not guilty of manslaughter.
Peter was born in Hackney. His family said in a statement: "Peter’s loss has been immeasurable and has left a gap in our lives that we will never be able to fill.
“He was a man who loved his family, who had time for his circle of valued friends, and worked hard for his colleagues. He was a complete gentleman and everyone that knew him has been united in grief at the manner in which he was taken from us.
“The shock of losing him so abruptly, so suddenly, so unnecessarily, is something that will haunt us for a very long time to come.
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“Peter still had so much left to do and enjoy with us and we have been robbed of that by the actions of this selfish man, who cycled into him and then immediately got up and fled.
“He left Peter laying in a busy road, seriously injured, and thought only of himself at that time.
“That kind of cowardice is beyond contempt. The anger we feel towards him is beyond words. We cannot even bear to say his name.
“He denied his actions and put us through the trauma of a trial, where we saw exactly what happened and lived our grief again and again. His actions are unforgiveable.”
On July 3 last year, Peter was walking home from work at around 5pm. CCTV footage showed him crossing Bow Road, near to the junction with Addington Road. The 72-year-old stopped on a central island as he waited for a green pedestrian light.
As Peter crossed, a cyclist passed through stationary traffic, narrowly avoiding him. But within moments a second cyclist – Loka - came through the red traffic light and collided with him.
Loka came off his bicycle in the collision, but got up and then rode off. The bicycle used by Loka on that day was never recovered.
Peter was tended to by members of the public who called police and paramedics. He died just over a week later in hospital.
A post-mortem examination held at Poplar Coroner's Court on July 16 attributed Peter’s cause of death to traumatic head injuries.
Following several police appeals to identify Loka which urged him to hand himself in, the 23-year-old was arrested on July 28 and later charged.
Loka, an Albanian national who had entered the country illegally, claimed that he fled after the collision because he had panicked about the consequences for his immigration status.
Det Sgt Eddie Coleman said: "Peter McCombie was a fit and active man who had had continued to work well past his retirement age. He was much loved by his family and friends and well liked by his colleagues.
“My sympathies remain with Peter’s family, who have been through so much and supported us so steadfastly throughout our investigation and this trial.
“I would like to thank them for their courage and bravery and hope they know we have done the best we could for them and for Peter.
"It can only be said that Loka’s actions were reckless and dangerous and entirely avoidable. If Loka had only just slowed and stopped at the red traffic light, we would not be here today.”