21 August 2012
A British Transport Police officer is currently appearing at Southwark Crown Court charged with dangerous driving following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into a crash
, which left a promising actor and singer/ songwriter in intensive care.
The IPCC received a referral regarding the incident and managed an investigation by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Directorate of Professional Standards and the Road Death Investigation Unit.
PC David Lynch, 30, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on 20th August in relation to the collision, which took place on 31 March 2011 between a British Transport Police van driven by PC Lynch and Pepe Belmonte
Mr Belmonte, who had been due to release his first album ‘The Hermit’s Waltz’
and start a tour to promote it, had cycled
over a hump-backed bridge on Queensbridge Road, Hackney when the vehicle driven by PC Lynch, which was travelling at high speed, drove over the bridge, hitting Mr Belmonte from behind. Witnesses to the collision described Mr Belmonte being catapulted over the handlebars and hitting a tree.
Mr Belmonte remained in hospital until 14 April 2011 having sustained brain, spinal, knee and facial injuries as well as a broken right elbow and little finger and psychological injury. He was in an induced coma for nine days and underwent several operations.
Mr Belmonte continues to suffer with ongoing problems as a result of the accident and his career has been put on hold as a result.
Whilst he is hoping to get his career back on track as soon as he is able, the injuries inflicted upon him continue to affect his ability to play his guitar or harmonica to his pre-accident level. His head and associated brain injury
mean that he is likely to be left with permanent cognitive impairment. He has undergone further surgery to his knee and will require further surgery in respect of his facial injuries. He continues to experience severe problems with his spine
and has had to relearn to play the guitar to take into account the injury to his little finger.
Whilst primary liability has been admitted in relation to a civil action, the necessary funding for treatment has not been forthcoming.
from the personal injury
team who is representing Mr Belmonte
“Pepe is continuing to work hard to recover as far as possible from what were very severe injuries but at the present time he is far from fully recovered. We will be following the prosecution proceedings closely to see exactly how a British Transport Police van came to be travelling at such high speed in a built up area, near a school and over a hump backed bridge in the middle of the day. Pepe was lucky to have survived the accident at all. We also await the evidence from the IPCC investigation. The fact that a police offer may be attending an emergency call does not absolve that officer from the need to take care for the safety of other road users. This accident has had a devastating effect upon the life of a talented young musician and it remains to be seen whether he will recover sufficiently to be able to get his career back on the track which he was clearly following at the time of the accident.”
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