Sunday, 14 October 2012

Spot the irrelevant, victim-blaming detail

Cyclist Joseph Belmonte, known as Pepe, was struck from behind by Pc David Lynch’s van in Hackney. The officer, who was responding to an emergency call, was driving at more than double the 30mph speed limit before losing control of his van. Mr Belmonte, 31, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown across the van’s bonnet and into a tree like a “ragdoll”, according to witnesses. He was left with brain, spine and face injuries and a broken right arm and finger. He also remained in an induced coma for nine days after the crash and needed surgery. 

Lynch, 31, from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, walked free from Southwark crown court on Tuesday after receiving an eight-month suspended prison sentence. He had previously pleaded guilty to careless driving and was also convicted of the more serious charge of dangerous driving. Father-of-two Lynch was driving his British Transport Police Mercedes Vito van at up to 68mph in a 30mph zone when he lost control of the vehicle and hit Mr Belmonte at 45mph. 

The smash happened as Lynch sped to an urgent call for assistance at Hackney Downs station on March 31 last year. Lynch, who has two previous convictions for speeding, was also ordered by judge Jeffrey Pegden QC to complete 240 hours’ community service and faces a 6pm-7am curfew for 12 weeks. He was banned from driving for 15 months and ordered to retake his driving test, as well as pay £1,000 costs.