Cyclist who jumped red light jailed over pedestrian’s death

29 July 2021, 11:29 | Updated: 29 July 2021, 11:43

Peter McCombie suffered injuries including fractures and bruising to his left side, and damage to the right side of his skull after he fell to the ground. He died eight days later, on July 11.
Peter McCombie suffered injuries including fractures and bruising to his left side, and damage to the right side of his skull after he fell to the ground. He died eight days later, on July 11. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A cyclist who hit and killed a pedestrian after running a red light in east London said he fled the scene as he feared he would be deported.

Ermir Loka, 23, was cycling in Bow, east London, on July 3 last year when he struck 72-year-old Peter McCombie.

The pensioner was walking home from his job as a human resources administrator just after 5pm when the incident took place.

Jurors at Loka's trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court were told the cyclist abandoned his bike and later admitted to police that he did not stop at the scene.

Prosecutors said Loka, an Albanian national, was "in a panic" over his immigration status, which was not regularised, and he knew police would soon be on the scene.

CCTV footage showed Mr McCombie crossing Bow Road, near the junction with Addington Road, and then stopping on a central island as he waited for a green pedestrian light.

As he crossed, a cyclist passed stationary traffic, narrowly avoiding him, but, moments later, a second cyclist, Loka, went through a red light and crashed into him, the Metropolitan Police said.

Loka came off his bike in the collision, but got up, remounted and rode off.

His trial heard that he had been travelling at around 15mph when he struck Mr McCombie, who suffered injuries including fractures and bruising to his left side, and damage to the right side of his skull.

He died eight days later, on July 11.

Loka was convicted of causing bodily harm by wanton/furious driving and sentenced to two years' imprisonment, which will take into account time served while on remand.

He was found not guilty of a second charge of manslaughter.

Mr McCombie's 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."

Detective Sergeant Eddie Coleman said Loka's actions were "reckless, dangerous and entirely avoidable".

"If Loka had only just slowed and stopped at the red traffic light, we would not be here today," he added.