Colchester Met Police officer cleared over moped rider's death

Naseem Edwards is due to appear at Kingston Crown Court on November 24. Pic: Google

Pc Paul Summerson, from Colchester, was cleared at Kingston Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A Metropolitan Police officer from Colchester has been cleared of causing the death by dangerous driving of an 18-year-old man during a high-speed chase.

Pc Paul Summerson, 44, was prosecuted over the pursuit of moped rider Lewis Johnson, 18, and his pillion passenger Louis Kyriacou, 19, through Stoke Newington, north London, earlier this year.

He was found not guilty at Kingston Crown Court today of one count of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The police believed Mr Johnson and his passenger were involved in a "smash and grab" theft on February 9, 2016, before the chase.

The court heard that Pc Summerson, of Alexander Court, Colchester, chased Mr Johnson and his passenger in a marked police BMW, reaching speeds of more than 50mph, along Stoke Newington High Street and Stamford Hill before reaching Clapton Common road where the collision happened.

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At the junction, Mr Johnson swerved left to drive alongside a white van before colliding with the van and striking a pole, causing him and his passenger to fall off the moped.

Pc Summerson simultaneously drove on the right-hand side of the van with his lights and sirens on, and his lawyers said the defendant was not to blame for the van driver moving to the left and colliding with Mr Johnson.

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Mr Johnson died from his injuries and Mr Kyriacou was left seriously hurt.

During his trial, Pc Summerson said he was "devastated by these tragic events" and insisted that he had been driving safely and had kept a two-second gap behind the moped.

Pc Summerson previously stated that he had been keeping a gap between his car and the moped, that road conditions were light and traffic was less than normal during the chase.

He said he remained close to protect the moped through "protective bubbling", a process where the police officer uses their sirens and lights to ensure other road users can see the chase and get out of the way.

His trial previously heard several statements from Pc Summerson's colleagues and friends - who referred to him as hardworking, professional, and dedicated to his job as a police officer.

He had no previous convictions and a clean driver's licence, the court heard. 

The jury returned its not guilty verdict after deliberating for one hour and 20 minutes.

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