A TRIAL has started for a cyclist accused of causing injury to an elderly lady, who later died from her injuries, by striking her on his bike.

Edward Bressan, 55, is accused of causing injury to 81-year-old Polly Friedhoff on the River Thames towpath last November by cycling ‘wantonly or furiously’ on his B’Twin bicycle.

Ms Friedhoff, who retired from her job as St Antony’s College’s first public relations and development officer in the mid-2000s, was said to have been knocked to the ground during the collision near Iffley Lock on November 20, 2022.

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She died in hospital 12 days after the crash.

Bressan has denied the offence and is now standing trial at Oxford Crown Court.

During the trial opening on Monday (July 8), prosecutor Andrew Jordan said: “There was a collision on the towpath near Iffley Lock, south of the centre of Oxford.

“An elderly lady, Polly Friedhoff, was stuck by a cyclist and the cyclist was Mr Bressan. This case concerns the matter of Mr Bressan’s driving of his bicycle.

“Ms Friedhoff was out for a walk with her friend Eva Huggins and their route took them on the towpath and they were heading north. They were in the area of the towpath at about lunchtime.

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“Mr Bressan was on his bike and also using the towpath and also heading north. As he overtook the ladies, he struck Ms Friedhoff and she fell.

“She sustained serious injuries to her head, arms and ribs and she died 12 days later.

“They were walking on the right-hand side of the path and Mr Bressan attempted to overtake them on the left-hand side and it was that manoeuvre that will be the focus of your [the jury] attention in this trial.”

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Mr Jordan explained that the emergency services were called and Bressan was interviewed by the police.

During his interview, he said he had rang the bell on his bike and Ms Friedhoff’s friend had moved to the side to let him pass but Ms Friedhoff had moved into his path instead.

The trial, which is expected to last three to four days, continues.