"you drove at grossly excessive speed"
A Met Police officer was jailed for three years for fatally hitting a woman while speeding.
On June 9, 2021, at around 11:20 pm, Shante Daniel-Folkes was crossing the road near a pedestrian crossing in Brixton, South London, when PC Gary Thomson passed with his emergency lights and siren activated.
Around four seconds later, the 25-year-old continued to cross and was struck by PC Nadeem Patel’s vehicle.
He had switched off his front emergency lights so that it would not affect PC Thomson’s vision in the lead vehicle, but the sirens were activated.
Ms Daniel-Folkes was knocked unconscious immediately. Despite efforts from officers and paramedics, she died at the scene.
Although exempt from the 30mph limit, PC Patel reached a peak speed of 83.9mph on Stockwell Road just 115 metres from the car’s final stopping point.
The car was travelling at around 55mph at the time of the collision after PC Patel applied the break.
PC Thomson’s vehicle passed Ms Daniel-Folkes at speeds between 70 to 79mph.
In February 2023, Patel pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
He was sentenced to three years in prison and disqualified from driving for 54 months.
The case can now be reported after the conclusion of PC Thomson’s trial.
PC Thomson was cleared of dangerous driving but convicted of the lesser offence of careless driving.
The officer was fined £500 and given five penalty points, as well as being ordered to pay costs of £500.
Sentencing PC Patel, Judge Mark Lucraft KC told him:
“It is clear from the investigation that has been conducted that you drove at grossly excessive speed, over a not insignificant distance, far in excess of that which was safe given the prevailing road conditions, even making allowance for the fact of responding to an emergency call and not being bound by the speed limit.”
The judge called for a review of the speeds at which officers can travel in residential areas.
Judge Lucraft added: “I note there is no clear guidance provided by the Metropolitan Police on speeds police cars should not exceed in responding to emergency calls when driving in residential areas or roads subject to a speed limit of 30mph.
“In my judgment, further thought should be given to this issue particularly as the speed limits in many residential areas are being further reduced to 20mph.
“Driving at speeds in excess of motorway speeds along roads with the characteristics of Stockwell Road, whilst classified as an A road, poses obvious risks.”
Judge Lucraft referred to the “moving” statements from the family of Ms Daniel-Folkes, who described her as “kind, funny, loving and very creative”.
He said: “She is described as bubbly and carefree – a lover of life and someone who was ambitious.
“She loved fashion and design.
“She was a mentor, an artist, a certified nail technician looking forward to opening her own salon and to a bright future for herself and her young son who she adored.
“She was much loved by all who knew her.
“The family are devastated by the loss of Shante.
“They express a numb and empty feeling at Shante’s loss and speak about the long-lasting impact on the family and that on Shante’s young son in particular – a son she will not see grow up and make his own way in life.”
Rosemary Ainslie, of the CPS, said:
“Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Shante Daniel-Folkes following this avoidable tragedy.”
“Both officers, although not bound by the 30mph speed limit while responding to a 999 call, were driving at motorway speeds in a built-up urban area, with a number of potential hazards in the vicinity.
“These included pedestrians, cyclists, and cars travelling in the other direction, as well as an open convenience store directly at the scene and a nearby pub in which 30-40 customers were present for a quiz night.
“There was an obvious risk of injury to a person from vehicles travelling at that speed in the dark, and both officers fell below the expected standard of a competent and careful driver that evening.
“PC Patel admitted causing the death of Ms Daniel-Folkes by driving dangerously and I hope his sentence, along with today’s verdict for PC Thomson, offers some comfort to her family at this extremely difficult time.”