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Judge calls for Metropolitan Police review of 999 speeds after officer jailed over death of woman, 25, in Brixton | UK News

A judge has called for the Metropolitan Police to review acceptable speeds for responses to 999 calls after an officer was jailed over the death of a young woman.

PC Nadeem Patel, 28, was driving at more than 80mph before his patrol car struck 25-year-old Shante Daniel-Folkes on Stockwell Road in Brixton, south London, on 9 June 2021.

Ms Daniel-Folkes was thrown into the air, fell unconscious and died at the scene.

PC Patel pleaded guilty in February to causing her death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years in prison and disqualified from driving for 54 months.

Judge Mark Lucraft KC told PC Patel: “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 case can only now be reported after the conclusion of the Old Bailey trial of PC Gary Thomson who was driving just ahead of PC Patel and was not involved in the collision.

PC Thomson was cleared of dangerous driving but convicted of the lesser offence of careless driving on Monday.

He was fined £500 and given five penalty points, as well as being ordered to pay costs of £500.

Sentencing PC Thomson, Judge Lucraft said: “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.”

Ms Daniel-Folkes had been walking across the road at around 11.20pm close to a pedestrian crossing when PC Thomson’s car passed her with its emergency lights and siren activated.

She continued to cross and was struck by PC Patel’s vehicle around three to four seconds later.

He had earlier switched off his front emergency lights so as to not affect PC Thomson’s vision in the lead vehicle but did have his siren activated.

Although exempt from the 30mph limit, PC Patel reached a peak speed of 83.9mph on Stockwell Road just 115 metres before the point the car stopped.

The vehicle was travelling at around 55mph at the time of the crash after PC Patel braked for two seconds from a speed of more than 81mph.

The vehicle being driven by PC Thomson also passed Ms Daniel-Folkes at speeds of between 70-79mph.

Read more from Sky News:
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Family ‘numb and empty’ after death

During PC Patel’s sentencing in February, Ms Daniel-Folkes’s family described her as “kind, funny, loving, and very creative”.

Judge Lucraft 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 Crown Prosecution Service, 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 to 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-Foulkes 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.”

Reports HS2 services will be halved – and run at lower speeds – dismissed as ‘speculation’ by govt | UK News

The Department for Transport has said it “does not comment on speculation” after proposed cost-saving plans for HS2 were reported.

According to The Daily Telegraph, drastic changes are being planned that would almost halve the number of high-speed trains per hour – and services would travel slower.

The newspaper reported that plans to run services at up to 224mph are in jeopardy as officials decide whether to reduce maximum speeds.

In response, a spokesperson for the Department for Transport told Sky News: “We do not comment on speculation.

“Spades are already in the ground on the HS2 programme. It will better connect regions across the UK, provide a greener option of travel and is supporting tens of thousands of jobs.

“We remain committed to delivering the project. We continue to work in line with the Integrated Rail Plan.”

The proposals are reportedly part of an overhaul – codenamed Project Silverlight and Operation Blue Diamond – as ministers grapple with huge inflationary pressures on Britain’s biggest infrastructure project.

In a 2020 report conducted by former HS2 and Crossrail chairman Sir Doug Oakervee said up to 10% of building costs could be saved if the requirement for such super high speeds was abandoned, the newspaper writes.

HS2 explained: What is it and how much will it cost?

HS2 Map
Image:
HS2 Map

As a result, deputy chairman of Sir Doug’s review, Lord Berkeley, wrote a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Transport Secretary Mark Harper – stating that, if speeds were reduced to 125mph, significant amounts of money could be saved.

“Why do you need to get to London 30 minutes quicker when you have WiFi and your laptop on the train?” he said.

“I suggest that ministers should look at options for radically cutting the costs of what is left of HS2.”

But the prospect of cuts has been criticised by advocates of the project, the Telegraph reported.

As well as cutting costs, HS2 Ltd, the government-owned company, has been accused of using an “untested, out-of-date, fundamentally flawed” tool to assess its impact on nature.

The Wildlife Trusts published a report claiming there will be “at least 17% less nature present” after construction of Phase One between London and Birmingham, whereas HS2 Ltd “say there will only be a 2.6% nature loss”.

Dr Rachel Giles, evidence and planning manager at Cheshire Wildlife Trust and author of the report called for the company to “urgently recalculate” the total loss of nature.

But a HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “We don’t recognise the figures from the report nor do we believe them to be reliable”.