A MOUNTAIN bike race organiser was accused of submitting a “wholly inadequate” risk assessment ahead of a Llangollen event in which a spectator was killed after she was struck by an out-of-control bike.

Judith Garrett suffered a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage after she was hit head on by a rider who lost control of his bike on a three-jump sequence at the downhill mountain bike event held at Tan Y Graig Farm near Llangollen on August 31, 2014, Mold Crown Court heard.

Miss Garrett, from Prudhoe, Northumberland, who was attending the event to watch her fiancée Peter Walton compete, was airlifted to hospital in Stoke but died from her head injuries the following day.

Prosecutor James Hill QC said the backdrop to a series of breaches of Health and Safety regulations was the tragedy that a “healthy young women had lost her life which was an inescapable fact for her bereaved family and all those who loved her”.

Race organiser Michael Marsden and marshal Kevin Duckworth, along with governing body the British Cycling Federation, were charged after an investigation by Denbighshire Council.

Marsden’s failure to carry out a proper risk assessment of the dangers to spectators on the part of the course on which the accident took place was a contributory factor, said the prosecutor, while the British Cycling Federation had failed to remedy the mistakes of Marsden’s risk assessment.

“Even if the slightest attention to detail had been applied it would have led British Cycling and Mr Marsden to designate the area as a ‘no-go’ one for spectators,” said Mr Hill.

“Taping off the area would have been a reasonable and practical step to ensure safety.”

The court was told Marsden was an experienced organiser of mountain bike races and his company, Borderline Events, had previously put on events in Wales, Scotland and Northern England.

The Llangollen time trials were part of the UK Downhill Series and the course included a difficult three-jump finish at the bottom of hillside where riders needed to turn smartly to the right to avoid a padded tree.

“Unfortunately, the area around the tree was not recognised as hazardous for spectators, but if people had stopped to think it was where spectators would be drawn to as it was the most exciting part of the course,” said Mr Hill.

Miss Garrett walked to the spot to watch her boyfriend come down the track.

Duckworth, it was alleged, should have been marshalling at the point, but instead was “snoozing” on a crash mat some distance away.

When rider Andrew Cody lost control of his bike he tried to kick the bike away, but was propelled headfirst into Miss Garrett, whose head also struck a tree.

“There was nothing Mr Cody could have done as he flew from his bike and there was no time for Miss Garrett to get out of the way,” added the prosecutor.

“The purpose of a risk assessment is to determine hazards that might be present. We say that Mr Marsden knew the course, but the lack of attention to detail in the risk assessment was wholly inadequate.”

Marsden, 41, of Gressingham Drive, Lancaster, is alleged to have failed to ensure the safety of spectators, including Miss Garrett.

He is also charged with failing to make a suitable assessment of the health and safety risks posed to spectators.

Duckworth, 42, of Addison Street, Accrington, Lancashire, is alleged to have failed to ensure that his health and safety duties as a marshal were complied with in that he left his position as a marshal.

While the British Cycling Federation face a charge of failing to conduct an undertaking in such a way as to ensure the health and safety of people attending.

Marsden, Duckworth and the British Cycling Federation deny all the charges.

The case continues.