Met police officer ‘driving dangerously’ in knocking suspect off bicycle

·2-min read
Police constable Eugene Acheampong appeared at Southwark Crown Court after an incident in which a suspect was knocked off his bicycle (PA) (PA Archive)
Police constable Eugene Acheampong appeared at Southwark Crown Court after an incident in which a suspect was knocked off his bicycle (PA) (PA Archive)

A man fleeing police was seriously hurt after being “dragged” under a patrol car when an officer drove into the bicycle he was riding, a court heard.

Police constable Eugene Acheampong had been called to reports of two suspects “tampering with parked cars” when one of them, 46-year-old Arnold Taylor, rode away from the crime scene on his red bicycle.

Driving a marked BMW police car, 28-year-old Acheampong chased the suspect, travelling faster than the 20mph speed limit, when he veered too close to the cyclist before “smashing” into him, the jury at Southwark Crown Court heard on the first day of the officer’s trial on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Daniel Fugallo said: “The allegation is that Pc Acheampong was following a man in his police car so closely right behind him and at such a speed that it was dangerous.

“Because he was driving dangerously in that way he ended up knocking the bicycle over and driving his police car right over the bike and right over his rider, causing him serious injury.”

The jury of seven women and five men watched CCTV footage as the collision unfolded in 35 seconds, resulting in cyclist Arnold Taylor lying on Hawke Park Road, Wood Green, north London with his “face and hands covered in blood”.

The jury watched body-worn police camera footage which captured the moment the rider slipped under the marked police vehicle before the defendant jumped out to help the “groaning” injured man.

In a statement read to the jury, Mr Taylor said: “I was facing forward when it smashed into the back of me. The next substantial memory I have is waking up in hospital.”

Paramedics rushed the injured cyclist to the Royal London Hospital to be treated for his “serious injuries” which included a partially severed left ear; collapsed lungs; a broken front tooth; as well as fractures to his rib jaw and vertebrae, a jury heard.

Despite “no defects” being found that would have contributed to the crash of the patrol car, “the blue lights were not working”, the jury heard.

In his statement, cyclist Mr Taylor added: “I did not hear a siren, see lights or hear the officer call out to me.”

Wearing a navy blue suit and black tie, Acheampong, of Gainsborough Road, Rainham, had previously denied one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following the collision on August 3 2019.

In a prepared statement given at his police interview in January 2020, the defendant claimed his driving was “safe and sensible” but the rider “just seemed to disappear”.

Following a forensic collision investigation, it was discovered Acheampong was travelling at 27mph when his police car hit the rear wheel of the bike, causing it to fall, Mr Recorder Jas Jandu heard.

The trial which began today at Southwark Crown Court was expected to last three days.

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