Policewoman escapes prosecution after killing biker

'No evidence' to prove careless driving (though she was talking on the phone...)

Posted: 14 February 2013
by Visordown News

"Hello, can I have the number for a decent lawyer?" [File image]

A POLICE officer who killed a motorcyclist in a collision has escaped prosecution for causing death by careless or dangerous driving - even though she was talking on her mobile phone at the time of the crash.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence to charge Dorset Police special constable Collette Carpenter, 23, because there was no proof that she was holding the phone at the time of the crash. Carpenter claims that the phone was on her lap and set to loudspeaker. 

While it is illegal to use a "handheld" mobile phone while driving, "hands-free" devices are allowed. However, police have the power to penalise motorists (with three points and a £60 fine) if they believe that they are distracted and not in control of their vehicle. 

Carpenter pulled out of a side road in her Peugeot 206 and hit the Honda CBF1000 ridden by David Bartholomew, 54, who died of head injuries and multiple fractures after the collision in March last year. Witnesses confirmed Bartholomew was not breaking the speed limit.

Carpenter had initially claimed that she was not on the phone at the time of the crash. Later she changed her story to say she briefly took an incoming call but the phone was on her lap and on loudspeaker. 

She said: ‘In the time of the first interview, I just panicked and said what I said, which I know is not the truth. I don’t know why I didn’t say about the phone. I was in shock, maybe I didn’t think it was relevant at the time. I was not distracted.’

However, Dorset Police’s accident investigator PC John Hayward, speaking to Bournemouth Coroner’s Court, said: ‘The use of her mobile phone can only have been a distraction and has very likely contributed to her not seeing the motorcyclist.'

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I'm sure if it was the other way round we'd be seeing a prosecution.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 12:10

Seems like they have two books in UK as well ... one for the bad cops, the other for the rest of us ... just seeing how this "trustworthy" cop changed testimony, should have been enough .....

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 12:13

only if she was not a policewomen?!I'm sure she is apply workianyone smells corruption here

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 12:40

F***ING DISGUSTING. Sadly not at all surprised.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 12:41

"I don’t know why I didn’t say about the phone."
I think I do.
"I was not distracted."

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 12:56

Actually, if she wasn't distracted then for what reason did she kill the motorcyclist?

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:00

It is a sad situation, just reinforces the "us and them" feeling and no good for public opinion,, it's hard to understand how the court decided this was justice.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:00


Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:02

It stinks! I believe she was let off due to her position but sadly the lives of bikers don't appear to by worth much, we are half at fault before any blame gets passed.
Corrupt police service-yes
Corrupt CPS - yes
His family should drag her through the civil courts and sue her arse off

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:05

Let's all join the specials then go on a rampage - anyone with a warrant is above the law and free from prosecution.

If you can get 3 points for drinking from a bottle whilst held at traffic lights, surely talking on a phone that is balancing on your lap must be a distraction. Even if the talking bit didn't put her off, surely using her legs to drive the car whilst trying to not drop the phone off her lap was?

I agree with Ed J and George, not really a surprise.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:08

My first reaction when I saw the headline was to write "cunt". Then I read the article and Now i can only say "fucking cunt". Her first reaction was to to lie!
Whatever happens to "be a man and own up to it". I'll tell you what... emancipation!

How can she live this, I know that I could not.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:09

I am still so fucking angry about this. Collette, you should be so fucking ashamed of yourself! But you will not be reading this. You may be grieving for what you have done. I hope that you are.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:15

Why am I not surprised...

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:16

Here in America, if it was the other way 'round, the cops who showed up would have pumped 100 rounds into the biker for killing a cop. That's how they do it here, execution style. I'm taking a trip there come summer, I shall see if the itinerary allows me time to hunt this cunt down and have a word with her. Just a word, nothing else.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:21


I love you're sentiment. I am here visiting in Australia for a few days with a Texan who is equally pumped but ... naw, we have to rely on her conscience. I hope that she has one.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:37

uhhh .... ya sure.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:51

Another story regarding corruption in the Police Force.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 13:59

No doubt about that,

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 14:04

The family should take out a private prosecution and sue the bitch for everything she's got, they've lost more than a pay packet!

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 14:04

Unfortunately many police officers specials or otherwise not only operate mobile phones but also operate in car police radio transmitters. For years i haver felt in our health and safety culture that this was a major disparety. How can a person be fully concentrating on the road while taking details for incidents, often emergencies. There should always be two officers in the vehicle one to drive the other to deal with incomming messages. The other issue is the amount of time officers spend on personal calls in work time. I honestly believe that access to phones while on duty should be banned.Relatives can contact the call centre in need of an emergency.

Motor cyclists and cyclists don not seem to hold the same value as other road users.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 15:21

Seems a strange decision but she had independent witnesses on her side. Possible there is more to this than it first seems. Possible the witnesses were stupid but you cant blame a court for that, they can only rule on the evidence before them.

“Two drivers who were the closest to the collision stated that when Ms Carpenter pulled out her manoeuvre was safe and did not inconvenience them. This supported Ms Carpenter’s account, which stated that she checked both ways before pulling out”. ( http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/10226975.Fatal_accident_special_constable__why_WASN_T_she_prosecuted_/ )

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 15:39

As I understand it, speaker phone is not the same as hands free. She would have to take her eyes off the road while she pushed the buttons on the phone. Alas another lying member of the force, surely as an enforcer of the law, she would instantly realise that the first thing that happens is your mobile data is studied to see if you were using it? Very sad for the victim and their family, even sadder for the state of our law enforcement.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 15:43

Take the perverting the course of justice and mobile phone out of the question, it is still death by careless driving. I hate how we are seeing more and more of these cases.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 15:43

It's a disgusting miscarriage. (I wouldn't say of justice because there is none in the UK) She is so obviously a lying, coniving bitch and I'm sure she will pay for what she's done sooner or later. The court were obviously complicit in this case. It's true that bikers and cyclists don't seem to count these days. Just look at the number of cyclists killed by hit and run drivers in the last few months, it seems our lives are worth less than a 3 years No Claims bonus.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 15:49

Police scum getting away with murder yet again and if anyone tries to complain the IPCC who investigates is an internal police body run by ex-cops. Could the police get any more corrupt? Doubt it.
Not one cop has been charged with any of the 298 deaths in police custody since 2000 (unofficial number of deaths probably a lot higher but that is from the IPCC) and that's not even accounting for the likes of cases like this. Why are they allowed to protect their own and pervert the course of justice?
Lost all respect for them once I found out exactly how bent they are first hand.
Calling them 'pigs' would be a slur on pigs.
Devious, lying, bent FILTH.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 16:13

“Two drivers who were the closest to the collision stated that when Ms Carpenter pulled out her manoeuvre was safe and did not inconvenience them. This supported Ms Carpenter’s account, which stated that she checked both ways before pulling out”

Sure inconvenienced the biker. The bitch killed him. Probably her police mates were the witnesses

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 16:24

Perhaps the family didn't want to see a SPC in jail? You're baying for her blood, but if my father who's the same age died in this exact situation I'm not sure I would want a criminal conviction on a Special Police Constable. Being a SPC is pretty much vocational anyway. It's a tragic accident and not one that will be forgotten by anyone, certainly not the SPC. Anyway, the man's family can sue for damages - which will be borne by the insurance company. Obviously it's no recompense for a life but more satisfactory than the ruining of a second life.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 16:36

No doubt she changed her story because they could expose her lie by checking her mobile phone records. A case of the lying arm of the law!!!

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 16:37

Seems it's now okay to kill motorcyclists as long as you're a copper (special or otherwise) and, more importantly, a liar. Having a mobile phone on your lap does not constitute hands free as you still have to look down to press buttons. I think it's quite safe to say had the driver been a non copper and had killed a Police motorcycle rider in exactly the same circumstances, they would now be serving a lengthy sentence.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 17:48

I would have thought it would be in the police's interests to burn this spineless bitch. Even if the CPS are in cahoots, what good is it to anyone to protect her? If it's supposedly the police's job to highlight the dangers of mobile phone use in cars, why not prosecute, especially in light of the coroner's pretty damning comments? I guess even if she wasn't 'holding' the phone, this incident doesn't exactly provide a glowing account of police driver training.

As distressing as it must be for them, I hope the victim's family see fit to file a civil suit.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 23:22

Everyone involved in this decision should be utterly ashamed of themselves. As for the picture of the pig bitch arriving at court smiling... it is beyond words. Utterly disgusting.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 23:28

My experience in the last 5 years is that most young women in cars are texting, Facebooking or chatting on the phone pretty much all the time. One tried to knock me over on a zebra crossing the other day cos she was fiddling with her iphone and somehow neglected to notice that her car had started going forwards.

Most have got it down to a fine art of keeping the phone below windscreen height so they don't get caught. This makes it worse cos they're constantly looking up and down - although mostly down.

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 23:34

If the mobile phone companies want to do something useful make it so they cannot be used in cars with the engine running unless via a hands free device. My heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of the fellow biker killed

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 00:03

A bit of context.

The biker was on the RHS of the road doing an overtake past a van on the approach to a junction. She couldn't see him, he couldn't see her.

The family have nothing but praise for the investigating offers, who have pressed very hard for the CPS to prosecute. They've refused.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 00:38

It is a tragic situation. A life lost.
Would the prosecutions outcome be different if she was not a SPC? Probably.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 01:08

Two sets of rules:

One for the ruling SCUM

One for the rest of US

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 06:59

Surely, once she lied about using the phone and then changed her story, her testimony was suspect and 99% an admission of guilt.

Why lie?

Still, it was only a biker, no one special. No ones son or husband or father. No one that will be missed. Not a copper.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 17:36

"The biker was on the RHS of the road doing an overtake past a van on the approach to a junction. She couldn't see him, he couldn't see her."

This makes sense of the decision, it's a shame there so many one sided stories like this published. What we have here is a story written to stir up hatred, no respect for the family or the facts, complete missed opportunity. What we could have had was a story highlighting the dangers of overtaking near junctions, maybe saved a life. But, no, hatred makes more money, that's journalism for you.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 17:50

nice argument and humane, but the main problem is the apparent uneveness of the law. The hand held use of phones in cars is rife,and it seems no one cares, until there is an accident and then, as this case, the penalties seem arbitary which doesn't send out the right message.The use of hand held phones in cars should be considered in the same category as drink driving...in other words acomplete change of attitude.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 19:35

given the facts of the collision it was not her fault, except she was using a mobile phone, which if the law was fair should automatically give her prison sentence, the same way should be driving under influence.

I think it is time for ZERO tolerance for drivers with mobiles.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 20:14

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