Most read Live feeds Top Videos News Politics Football Celebs TV & Film Weird News TRENDINGFOX HUNTINGGREECE CRISISKAREN DANCZUKTHE BUDGETUK HEATWAVE Sport Technology Money Travel Fashion Home News UK News Inquests ‘Vivienne Westwood’ fashion buyer crushed to death by lorry as she cycled home after celebrating a new job

A keen fashionista who had worked with Vivienne Westwood was killed beneath the wheels of a lorry while cycling home, an inquest heard.

Italian-born Federica Baldassa was wearing an outfit given to her by the design icon when she was crushed to death by a Greggs truck in London’s Bloomsbury Square.

Tragically, the 26-year-old had been with friends celebrating a new job just minutes before the horrific accident.

Miss Baldassa, who moved to London to follow her fashion dream, was “on top of the world” because her internship had just been made a permanent job and was planning a party for her upcoming birthday, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard.

But as she turned left down a narrow side street she suffered a “momentary lapse of concentration” and was killed instantly when she was pulled under the wheels of the lorry as it also turned left.

She was the third cyclist of eight to die on London’s street in 2015 and at the time her her death the fashion designer said: “We are shocked and upset to hear this devastating news.”

Federica Baldassa
Happy: Federica was said to be ‘on top of the world’ prior to her death

The inquest heard from her friend Anna Udall who had left Miss Baldassa – a keen cyclist who had biked to work every day – minutes before after celebrating her good news.

In a statement read to the court she said: “She was excited and on top of the world and she was hoping to go to Moscow for a fashion trip.

“She was planning on starting the next stage of her life by handing in her notice at the Riding House Cafe where she was waitressing and starting work in the Notting Hill fashion showroom full-time.

“She had mentioned slipping on some ice the weekend before but this was the only problem she’d had cycling in London.”

Senior coroner Mary Hassell gave a determination of road traffic collision and said that, as the lorry was indicating, Miss Baldassa, who had drunk two pints and was below the legal alcohol blood limit to drive a car, would have had plenty of room to stop.

The court also heard from collision investigator Paul De Neys, who said that as she came up behind driver Marek Sewilo’s lorry and moved onto his left hand side, she would have been visible in his two of his mirrors for no more than a second and a half when Mr Sewilo’s was rightly looking in front of him.

He said: “The only explanation I could come up with for why she continued to turn left when the lorry was in front her is that she didn’t think it was going left or that the traffic was moving that slowly that she didn’t think it was going to move any time soon.”

PC Simon Wickenden, the traffic management officer for Camden, said that attempting to improve the road layout would lead to dangers for cyclists and pedestrians in other areas.

He said: “The current road layout for cyclists is unsatisfactory. In a road barely 12 metres wide we see four lanes of traffic squeezed in.

“The only way to change that is to move it down to three lanes but that will have impact for cyclist and pedestrians elsewhere.”

Concluding, the senior coroner said she had tried to explore all the factors contributing to the collision and also to put herself in the shoes of all participants.

She said: “I’m a cyclist myself and it only takes a moment’s lapse of concentration and I think that’s what happened here.

“She continued to to turn left when the lorry was turning left though it is easy to be wise after the event.

“Federica Baldassa was a fashion buyer.

“She died on the 6 February 2015 on the junction Bloomsbury Square and Vernon Place.

“Her medical cause of death was a severe head injury.

“I make a determination of road traffic collision when the pedal cycle that Federica was riding collided with a lorry, killing her instantly.

“For all of Federica’s friends, and family who are not able to be here today, I am very sorry for your loss.”


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