Cyclist who died after Pentonville Road crash said 'I went for it' as he lay injured, inquest hears

A City trader who died in hospital seven weeks after cycling into the back of a parked lorry told witnesses who rushed to help him, “I put my head down and went for it”, an inquest heard.

Father-of-four Jerome Roussel, 51, was still able to speak despite suffering a spinal injury in the accident on Pentonville Road, near King’s Cross, at 6.45am on May 2 - writes

He died in hospital on June 25 from a series of complications following the “high-impact” collision at a speed of up to 20mph, Poplar coroner’s court heard yesterday.

The crash happened on Mr Roussel’s commute from Ladbroke Grove to City firm ADG, where he was a well-respected and successful trader.

Pc Liam Hughes, who ran to Mr Roussel’s aid, said in a statement: “He said, ‘I put my head down and went for it, I didn’t see the lorry.’ ”

Pc Hughes and Pc Gillian Simpson, who also helped, said Mr Roussel told them it was his fault that he hit the back of the 50ft lorry, which was delivering bricks.

The court heard that lorry driver Steven Swanson had driven from Staffordshire to make a delivery and had pulled up and put his hazard lights on to negotiate a difficult left turn.

Mr Swanson said: “I got out of the cab after checking my mirrors. Then there was a loud bang. People were jumping off a bus and pointing — I thought it might have been a bomb. I went to the back to look and there was a cyclist in the road.

“I couldn’t see any obvious sign of injury, I thought he was going to be OK. When I was told the cyclist had died I was in shock.”

Paramedics initially believed Mr Roussel’s injuries were non-life threatening, with surgeon Syed Aftab at first optimistic that he would make at least a partial recovery.

He said: “I even spoke to some friends and my wife about whether there were any traders in wheelchairs. There are, I was told, and I thought he might get back to work. It was a slow, painful battle against infection.”

Coroner Mary Hassell, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: “He was fairly fast, he was a fit man, he had his head down and just did not see the lorry. The moment’s inattention resulted in him crashing.”

Mr Roussel moved to London from Paris with wife Karine, an interior designer, in 2001. Friends described him as an enthusiastic and careful cyclist who cycled 300 miles a month. The Met investigated the crash and made no arrests.

Read also: Croydon tram crash: Sadiq Khan joins mourners for vigil to mark first anniversary of disaster
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