Met Police officer 'caused death of moped rider' during high-speed London chase

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A Metropolitan Police vehicle drives past Trafalgar Square in London as it responds to an emergency call. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A Metropolitan Police officer is accused of causing the death of a moped rider by driving dangerously. (File photo: PA)

A Metropolitan Police officer caused the death of a moped rider by driving dangerously during a high-speed chase, a court has heard.

PC Paul Summerson, 44, pursued moped driver Lewis Johnson, 18, and his pillion passenger Louis Kyriacou, 19, in a police BMW through Stoke Newington in north London on 9 February, 2016.

Kingston Crown Court heard on Monday that police believed Mr Johnson and Mr Kyriacou were involved in a “smash and grab” theft in the area.

Read more: Police officer arrested after man dies in crash involving unmarked car

Mr Johnson died from injuries he sustained after he collided with a van then struck a pole, the court heard, while Mr Kyriacou was left seriously injured.

Summerson, from Alexander Court, Colchester, denies one count of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The high-speed crash ended on Clapton Common Road when the moped collided with a van. (Google)
The high-speed crash ended on Clapton Common Road when the moped collided with a van. (Google)

Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford QC said Summerson drove “dangerously” and “far below the standard that was to be expected” during the chase.

Summerson pursued the moped through traffic, weaving in and out of cars in his BMW, and at one point drove on the wrong side of the road, the court heard.

His BMW had its flashing lights and a siren on during the pursuit.

“He engaged in a high-speed pursuit through streets that were busy,” Mr Sandiford said.

“At times he was driving very close to the moped. He was weaving in and out of traffic.

“He was undertaking and overtaking. He was driving on the wrong side of the road.

“It is obvious to a careful and competent driver that driving in the way that he did was dangerous.”

As he fled from the police car, Mr Johnson also drove in between traffic and on to a footpath, the jury heard.

The chase moved from Stoke Newington through Stamford Hill and on to Clapton Common road, where it caused a panel van to move out of the way, Mr Sandiford said.

New Scotland Yard in Westminster, London. (Photo by Thomas Krych / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A Metropolitan Police officer denies causing death by dangerous driving. (PA)

But the court heard the van drove directly into the path of Mr Johnson’s vehicle and collided with it, causing the moped to spin into a pole on the side of the road – killing Mr Johnson and seriously injuring his passenger.

“The panel van moved over due to the presence of the defendant’s BMW, and in doing so moved into the path of the moped, causing a collision,” Mr Sandiford said.

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He told the jury that the collision with the panel van was “sufficient” to cause Mr Johnson to lose control of his moped.

“The moped slid into a pole,” he said. “It was sufficient to cause significant injuries to Lewis Johnson such that he died.”

Summerson ran to the aid of the moped rider and his passenger after the crash, the court heard.

Paramedics attended, but Mr Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The prosecutor told the jury that Summerson’s role as a police officer was not an excuse for how he drove that day.

“There is no special rule or defence for the driving of a police officer,” he said.

The trial continues.

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