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Motorist jailed for four years for causing the death of Team GB triathlete Rebecca Comins

A motorist has been jailed for four years for causing the death by dangerous driving of Team GB triathlete Rebecca Comins.

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A motorist has been jailed for four years for causing the death of Team GB triathlete Rebecca Comins.

Vasile Barbu, 49, of Abergavenny, was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court on June 7 of causing death by dangerous driving, and on Friday (July 5) he was sentenced for the tragic incident which had taken place on June 2, 2022.

Barbu had been driving a white Vauxhall Movano van on the A40 near Raglan when he hit Rebecca as she was cycling. The 52-year-old triathlete, who had represented Great Britain at World and European Championships, died at the scene.

Tragedy a warning to all motorists

Senior investigating officer, PS Shane Draper of Gwent Police, said after Friday’s sentencing that the tragedy was a warning to all motorists.

He said: “Rebecca was an experienced and talented cyclist – she did everything she could to stay safe on the roads – but the actions of a fellow road user saw her life tragically cut short.

“Driving is a privilege, and not something that should be taken for granted or taken lightly.

“This is reminder to everyone who gets behind the wheel – you are in control of a potentially dangerous machine – your responsibility isn’t just to ensure your own safety, but the safety of everyone around you.

“I would like to thank and commend the family for their strength during this difficult time and I hope that this conviction helps provide them with some closure as they continue to process their loss. My thoughts remain with them”.

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Beckie ‘an inspiration to so many’

Rebecca’s family had released a statement following Barbu’s conviction back on June 7. It read as follows:

“Beckie was a wonderful wife to Stephen and mum to George and Millie who will be dearly missed.

“Beckie was incredibly kind and an inspiration to so many. Her impact on the lives of people throughout the local and sporting community has become especially evident by the abundance of tributes and memories shared since her death.

“She loved her family, friends and sport and was always the first person to offer help and advice.

“We are so proud of what she achieved in her life.

“Our lives changed forever when we lost Beckie on 2nd June 2022.  The verdict will never bring Beckie back.

“No words can describe our pain knowing we will never see her laugh and smile again. We miss her so much and she will forever be in our hearts.

“We are grateful for the support from our friends and family over what have been a very difficult two years. And for support in the future as we continue to navigate life without Beckie.

“We’d like to thank emergency services and the general public who assisted on the day of the accident. Giving us peace of mind that she got the best care possible and nothing more could have been done.

“We’d also like to thank witnesses who not only helped on the day but have come forward and provided evidence to assist in the case over the last two years.

“Finally, we’d like to thank officers from Gwent Police and also the prosecution team for their hard work in the case and for the support they have given us throughout.”

Becky Comins
Wales and GB Age Group triathlete Rebecca ‘Beckie’ Comins, who died in June 2022.
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‘A fantastic ambassador’

Becky was a member of Dragon Tri Club, Newport Phoenix Cycling Club and Caldicot Running Club. She had also raced for Monmouth Triathlon Club in the past and was the current Welsh Triathlon Super Series Vintage Veteran Champion at the time of her death.

She represented the Great Britain Age Group Team at the 2018 European Championships in Tartu and the 2019 World Championships in Lausanne. 

Welsh Triathlon described Rebecca as “a popular face across the Welsh triathlon scene, and a fantastic ambassador for our sport” in a statement following her death.

That statement added: ” Becky was a fierce competitor, but with it had a positivity and energy that was infectious.

“She loved the sport; she loved the training and Becky was central to any social activities across her clubs.”

Graham Shaw
Written by
Graham Shaw
Graham has been involved with TRI247 & RUN247 since the summer of 2021. Since then he has provided strategic direction for all news and is passionate about the growth of triathlon as a fan sport.
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