PC from Colchester in court accused of causing death by dangerous driving
- Credit: Google Maps
A police officer from Colchester accused of causing death by dangerous during a high-speed pursuit said he was following the vehicle to protect it.
Pc Paul Summerson of Alexander Court, Colchester, has appeared at Kingston Crown Court and denies one count of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
The crash occurred when the officer pursued 18-year-old moped driver Lewis Johnson and his pillion passenger Louis Kyriacou, 18, through Stoke Newington, north London in February 2016.
Officers believed that Mr Johnson and Mr Kyriacou were involved in a theft of a phone in the area.
On Wednesday, the court was shown CCTV footage of the moped driving away from the police vehicle which was using its flashing lights and siren.
During the high-speed chase both the moped and the police car weaved through traffic with the moped mounting onto the footpath.
Summerson told the court he stayed close to the moped to protect it.
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“I positioned myself near the moped to protect it and members of the public with my presence, and my siren and lights, because members of the public will see me and not expect a moped to be coming through," he said.
However, the prosecution’s case is that Summerson’s flashing lights and siren caused a van on Clapton Common Road to move out of the way of the police car, colliding with the moped in the process and sending it into a traffic light pole.
The court heard the impact with the pole killed Mr Johnson and seriously injured his passenger.
The officer told the court he was not trying to apprehend the vehicle during the pursuit, but was trying to keep up with the moped due to his concerns of the safety of other motorists and stated his driving was "safe and considerate" during the pursuit.
The jury was told that back up vehicles were en-route to the high-speed chase.
Summerson denied that continuing the pursuit “necessarily” put others in danger. He said his goal was “to remain in contact with the moped until other units were able to take over”.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford QC suggested the Pc was so focused on catching the moped that he became “oblivious” of the danger the pursuit poised to others - an allegation Summerson denied.
He said his driving during the incident was “safe and considerate”.
Alisdair Williamson QC, defending, asked Summerson how he felt about the events of that day.
The officer replied: “Absolutely devastated.”