The cyclist branded callous for knocking down a toddler on a pavement has said his life has been ‘destroyed’ after the CCTV footage of the accident was released.
It showed Lucie Wilding, three, being hit by the rider moments after she stepped out of her front garden.
The cyclist, wearing a bright orange jacket, was seen speeding towards the girl before she was sent hurtling through the air and then dragged face-down along the street.
Yesterday Andrew Holland spoke for the first time after the alleged ‘hit and run’ in Blackpool last Monday.
The 23-year-old disputed the version of events and claimed he had since been verbally attacked and threatened by members of the public.
Mr Holland, who recently completed his university studies in computer games design, claimed he had apologised to Lucie’s mother, Lauren Howarth, 26, moments after the incident.
And he had since voluntarily attended a police station twice and had emailed an apology to the family.
He denied he was callous and said only a shortened version of the video had been shown publicly whereas the full version showed ‘much more’. ‘Apparently it was a “hit and run”, but it wasn’t,’ he claimed.
Lucie had been following her mother to the car when she was hit by Mr Holland’s bike.
She became caught up in the pedals and was dragged along, her face scraping on the pavement. Her father Matt jumped over the garden wall, picked up his daughter and cradled her in his arms.
The family claimed Mr Holland began to ‘hurl abuse’ at them, blaming their daughter for the accident, before fleeing the scene leaving Lucie covered in blood with cuts to her face, head, hands and knees.
However, Mr Holland denied this version of events, saying that he had fallen off his bike and was in shock. He said the insinuation that he was a ‘dangerous hit-and-run cyclist’ had destroyed his life.
His family say he did not flee the scene but was driven away by his father George, 64, who happened to be passing in his car. His mother Linda said: ‘He didn’t cycle away, he got taken away in a car.’
Caught on CCTV: Lucie Wilding, three, is dragged along the pavement outside her home by the bicycle
She said he had done the right thing, ‘owning up (to the police) straight away’, adding: ‘He’s never been in trouble. He’s a quiet lad and anyone that knows him will tell you that.’ His father said: ‘His life has been destroyed.’
Scarred: Lucie, three, was treated in hospital
Lucie needed hospital treatment for extensive bruising and scarring to her face caused by the bike’s tyre. She is now recovering at home, but her family fear the mental scarring may last much longer.
Miss Howarth posted a picture of Mr Holland taken on her phone on social media in an effort to identify the cyclist.
However, police confirmed Mr Holland had voluntarily attended a police station the day after the incident. He has been told he may be summonsed for dangerous cycling.
He said he had been cycling on the pavement because the roads were busy with school traffic, adding: ‘I didn’t know it was illegal. I usually use cycle paths or the roads.’
Miss Howarth, a carer who is also mother to Katie, six, and eight-week-old Ellie, is now hoping to raise awareness of cyclists who ride on pavements despite it being illegal.
She added: ‘The speed he was going in a residential area with young children around is dangerous and this happened to Lucie out of nowhere.’
Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 makes it a criminal offence to ‘lead or drive’ a ‘carriage of any description’ on any footpath set apart for the use of foot passengers.
The maximum court fine is £500 or the police can issue a £50 fixed penalty notice.