Death crash policewoman resigns

Published: 01 March 2013

A policewoman who caused a crash that killed a motorcyclist while talking on her phone has resigned.

Collette Carpenter stepped down after the Crown Prosecution Services’ decision not to charge her was reported in the national press.

Carpenter was talking on her phone when she pulled into the path of motorcyclist David Bartholomew, 54, an inquest heard.

But the CPS concluded there was not enough evidence to charge the 23-year-old special constable after she said the phone had been in her lap, on loudspeaker, at the time.

The case sparked outcry from motorcyclists. A Facebook group, ‘Justice for David Bartholomew,’ has over 3000 supporters.

Bartholomew’s son, James, expressed frustration at Carpenter’s resignation, as it means she will not face disciplinary proceedings by Dorset Police.

James, 27, also a keen motorcyclist, said: “Not only is she not to be prosecuted, she was also given the opportunity to resign.”

James, an IT developer from Bournemouth, added: “My sister Charlotte and I are keen to paint a picture of dad and his passion for motorcycles to the biking community. We’ll be putting more pictures on the Facebook page.”

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “The Special Constable has resigned. This happened prior to any disciplinary proceedings, the maximum penalty for which would have been resignation. The circumstances surrounding the resignation will be kept on record.

“Dorset Police conducted a full investigation into the collision and submitted the file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

“The decision whether to prosecute lies with the CPS who in this instance decided that there was no case to answer.”

Bartholomew was riding his Honda CBF1000 on the A31 in Ferndown, Dorset, on March 20 last year, when Carpenter pulled out of a side road in her Peugeot 206.  

The experienced motorcyclist and father-of-two, from Bere Regis, Dorset, died of head injuries and multiple fractures hours after the collision.

A CPS spokesman said there was insufficient evidence to charge Carpenter with causing death by careless or dangerous driving.

He said: "The evidence showed that Ms Carpenter was using her phone whilst driving but Ms Carpenter stated that her phone was positioned on her lap on loudspeaker.

"We also took into consideration that there was no evidence to support that Ms Carpenter was holding her phone at the time of the collision.”