'My heart is broken, I feel like he has died all over again'

The heartbroken mother of a teenager killed as he cycled on a country lane has spoken of her anguish after the trial of the driver who hit him collapsed.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 29th March 2018, 7:25 am
Updated Thursday, 29th March 2018, 11:06 am
Dylan Crossey and his mum Tracey Milligan
Dylan Crossey and his mum Tracey Milligan

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Driver cleared of causing death of cyclist Dylan, 15

David Harwood, 42, of The Close, New Longton, was formally found not guilty of causing Dylan Crossey’s death by dangerous or careless driving on the directions of Judge Graham Knowles, after he heard legal submissions from his defence team.

Mr Harwood, who had been on trial at Preston’s Sessions House Court, was accused of hitting the teenage cyclist in his car on a country lane. Prosecutors said he was distracted by his sat nav.

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Dylan Crossey and his mum Tracey Milligan

After the crash Harwood drove on, saying he was not aware he had hit a person.

He told the trial that he heard a bang, but did not realise that he had hit a person. He said he did not stop because he was “shellshocked”.

Promising junior footballer Dylan,15, suffered severe head and neck injuries and died the following day in the Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The Penwortham All Hallow’s Catholic High School pupil, who leaves three brothers and three sisters, had been cycling with a friend along Wham Lane in Whitestake near Preston.

Tributes left at the scene

Acquitting Mr Harwood, Judge Knowles made comments there was insufficient evidence gathered in the investigation, and also praised the family for remaining calm as his decision was given.

Dylan’s mum Tracey Milligan said: “My heart is absolutely broken - I feel like he has died all over again.

“The top and bottom of it is my son was left brain dead in the road.”

Supported by her partner Carl, Tracey spoke to the Post from her home about the impact of the 19 month ordeal, and the judge’s criticism of the investigation.

Dylan Crossey and his mum Tracey Milligan

She said: “Dylan was only 15 and the whole justice system has let him down.

“I need help to get justice for my son. With every breath I have I will fight for him.

“The number of people who sat in the public gallery through the trial shows how much Dylan was loved and I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported Dylan and the family.

“I will be forever grateful to Dyl’s friend who stayed with him so that he did not die alone.”

Tributes left at the scene

She added: “It’s absolutely wrecked our family. Dylan was a massive part of our family. We are trying to move forward for his sake, but we’ll never get over this.

“Nineteen months my boy has been dead. If this had been a tragic accident I could maybe have coped better.”

Dylan’s family has now made a formal complaint after revelations that the family firm Mr Harwood worked for, HB Panelcraft, which was founded by his dad and uncle, had a contract with Lancashire Police to fix police cars.

The family says it has made an official complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission citing a conflict of interest.

Tracey added: “As Dylan’s mum I think that agreement should have ceased the moment the investigation began.”

Today a spokesman for Lancashire Constabulary said: “We respect the judge’s ruling and take on board his comments to ensure lessons are learned.

“We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and all of the evidence was subjected to careful scrutiny before a decision was taken to charge.

“This has been a tragic investigation and our thoughts remain with Dylan’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

The force also confirmed no other charges would be brought against Mr Harwood.

It has not yet commented about the alleged contract with HB Panelcraft.

A spokesman at HB Panelcraft said Mr Harwood had not worked there since the investigation began.

The Post has attempted to contact Mr Harwood through his barrister.

In the aftermath of the Year 11 pupil’s death, friends at All Hallow’s in Penwortham helped raise more than £4,000 by choir singing, non-uniform days, bucket collections and sales.Tracey is

hoping to organise an event to mark what would have been Dylan’s 18th birthday later this year.