York Racecourse charged over death of cyclist Ruby Milnes

Ruby Milnes pictured with her younger brother Ol

Ruby Milnes pictured with her younger brother Ol

First published in News

YORK Racecourse is to be prosecuted over the death of a young cyclist on a cycle track behind the course.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Milnes died in May 2008 while returning home to Bishophill from York College. She was in collision with a lorry travelling on an access road to the racecourse, which crossed the cycle route.

Now, more than three-and-a-half years later, the Health and Safety Executive said it had summoned York Racecourse Knavesmire LLP to appear at York Magistrates Court next month, charged with two safety breaches in connection with Ruby’s death.

One claimed the racecourse failed to conduct its undertaking, including the build-up phase of race meetings, in such a way as to ensure – so far as was reasonably practicable – that cyclists using the York to Selby cycletrack were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. This related to the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.

The other claimed the course failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to people’s health and safety, in particular in connection with the delivery of items during the build-up phase for a race meeting, relating to the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

A York Racecourse spokesman said it was aware of the HSE’s decision to issue proceedings relating to Ruby’s death.

“Our first thoughts remain for the family and friends of Ruby Milnes,” he said. “We offer them our sincere condolences.

“The racecourse has fully co-operated with the various investigations into the sad events of that afternoon and will continue to do so.”

He said the racecourse took its responsibilities in the area of Health and Safety very seriously.

“As well as being a key task for all members of the team, the course retains an expert in this field who guides the team through the principles of the legislation, supports the provision of important documentation, and helps assess over 5,000 individual risks, whilst creating a health and safety aware culture,” he said.

“York Racecourse has a good relationship with the relevant authorities and has faced no previous such proceedings.

“As the issues are now to be set before a court, we do not believe it is appropriate to make any further comment at this time.”

The Press reported last summer how Crown prosecutors – who had investigated the incident in relation to a potential offence of corporate manslaughter – revealed they would not be charging any organisation because there was no realistic prospect of a conviction for any offence.

Ruby’s parents, Al and Dave Milnes, said yesterday: “We’re pleased that the HSE are taking an interest in what happened to Ruby.

“For us, there’s no outcome that could give us our daughter back but we hope that this prosecution results in cycle paths being made safe for cyclists everywhere in the country.”

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