A 21-YEAR-old cyclist has been jailed for 12 months after he caused the death of a grandmother when he knocked her over in Hereford city centre.

Daryl Gittoes was seen weaving through pedestrians in Commercial Street on an unroadworthy BMX-style scrap bike with no brakes which he had picked out a of a skip, Worcester Crown Court heard.

He had been warned by police not to ride the bike through the pedestrianised area between 10.30am and 4.30pm when all vehicles were banned, said Christopher Lester, prosecuting.

But on July 30 last year, he was seen on CCTV at about 3pm riding along the busy street as crowds walked past the market stalls.

Mary Evans, 73, had gone with her friend from her home in Droitwich to visit a sewing shop in Hereford and they were on their way back to the railway station when Gittoes tried to ride between them, Mr Lester said.

Mrs Evans was knocked over and could not break her fall. Her head hit the pavement, fracturing her skull and she died from her injuries in hospital eight days later.

Gittoes, of Homestead, Hereford, pleaded guilty to wilful misconduct while riding the bike.

John Dyer, defending, said the incident was a tragedy. Gittoes had been intending to repair the bike but did not have enough money to fix the brakes as his jobseeker's allowance had not been sanctioned.

He said he now had a job collecting glasses in a club and was doing well in his shared accommodation with the help of youth workers.

He knew he should not have been riding in the area at the time and he is genuinely remorseful, Mr Dyer said.

Gittoes, a father-of-one with 11 previous convictions, had written a letter of apology to Robert Evans, who was married to Mrs Evans for 52 years.

Mrs Evans had worked as a district nurse in Droitwich and Bromsgrove and also volunteered in charity shops. In a victim personal statement, Mr Evans said he was now moving forward but he would never recover fully without his wife.

Judge Abbas Mithani, QC, said Gittoes knew what he was doing was unlawful, adding: "There were so many pedestrians there an accident must have been foreseeable.

"It does not take a very great impact for serious injury to be caused, or in this case a fatality."

He said it was clear from signs that the area was out of bounds when it was at its busiest.

"I know you are utterly devastated," he told Gittoes. "This death was directly caused by you and it will haunt you for the rest of your life."

The family of Mary Evans called for greater control of cyclists in pedestrianised areas after the sentencing.

In a statement, they said: "We truly hope that lessons have been learnt and that reckless cyclists riding in pedestrianised shopping areas can be controlled by the authorities for the safety of all."