Driver involved in Bristol tandem deaths ignored police request to stop; victims named

Husband and wife Ross and Clare Simons killed in yesterday's incident; police make two arrests

by Simon_MacMichael   January 28, 2013  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

Avon & Somerset Constabulary have said that the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed two cyclists on a tandem in Bristol yesterday afternoon had ignored an indication to stop from a police officer. The victims have been named as husband and wife Ross and Clare Simons, respectively aged 34 and 30.

Two arrests have so been made in connection with the incident, a 38-year-old man on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and a 35-year-old woman on suspicion of dangerous driving, but police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the incident, which happened in Hanham at around 4pm.

In a statement released this morning, the police force said that a little before 4pm, an officer had noticed a Citroen Picasso being driven along Lower Hanham Road at speed and despite indicating to the driver to stop, it carried on.

The officer followed the vehicle in their car but lost sight of it almost immediately, and a short time after it hit another vehicle before striking Mr and Mrs Simons, who died at the scene.

Police have confirmed to road.cc that the situation was not a pursuit, as has been reported elsewhere, because that would require authorisation from higher up in the chain of command and would also involve the police vehicle immediately following the suspect, which was not the case here.

Inspector Frazer Davey of Avon & Somerset Constrabulary’s Collision Investigation Team commented: "Following investigations overnight the circumstances of this collision have become much clearer.

“However I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident or saw this car in the area shortly before the collision to come forward and contact us.”

Anyone who has information is requested to call police on 101 or visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk.

"This is a tragic incident in which two people have needlessly lost their lives. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with their families," added Inspector Davey.

Police added that the case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. That reflects standard procedure in any fatality in which police have been involved in some way.

23 user comments

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posted by saddlebag [3 posts]
28th January 2013 - 12:02

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Pretty obvious some motorists have no respect for the police, what with roads policing cutbacks (usually the first to go) doesn't look good for road safety. The UK needs more not less road policing enforcement, mobile VED/MOT/Insurance checks and more average speed cameras.

posted by tomascjenkins [33 posts]
28th January 2013 - 12:22

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Unfortunately there will be some people who will show no respect for law, however many additional checks are in place. There will always be a minority who have no care for others, for whatever reason. This does not ever excuse irresponsible, dangerous, or stupid behavior, and the full extent of the law should be used in these cases, not reduced by CPS for "easy" convictions.
This sends a wrong message, that a serious or fatal injury caused by irresponsible use of any vehicle is somehow less serious thatn an assault, for instance, when it's not.

Doc

posted by doc [167 posts]
28th January 2013 - 12:45

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Be very interesting to see the sentencing in this one...has to be extremely tough...

posted by NeilXDavis [111 posts]
28th January 2013 - 14:36

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Shocking.

Deserves at least a £25 fine.

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
28th January 2013 - 14:41

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To paraphrase Howard Beale from the film Network:

---
"I want you to get mad! You've gotta say, "I'm a human being, goddammit! My life has value!"

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!!"

---

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
28th January 2013 - 14:54

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If the CPS are not capable of bringing successful prosecutions (custodial sentences) against irresponsible drivers who kill, whether they meant to or not, then surely there is a way of stopping them from driving again.
The sentences and fines handed out in court are woefully inadequate and in most cases, insulting to the families of the victims.
Surely a 5, 10, 15 year or life ban on driving is a better deterrent than, at most a 3-6 month suspended sentence at the tax payers expense!

posted by Generalspenny80 [5 posts]
28th January 2013 - 14:54

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Yes, the courts will take a dim view of "failure to stop".

Let's stop deluding ourselves here. The law doesn't give a f*ck about cyclists being killed or injured.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
28th January 2013 - 14:59

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Surely, if you have an accident and then leave the scene then this is murder as you have injured someone and then knowingly left them to die?

posted by Cyclic [27 posts]
28th January 2013 - 15:22

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This news is so upsetting! Yet another accident involving cyclists; and resulting in the tragic loss of life.

Carl said in his post : Open your windows and shout out-loud! Well, when we hear of another cyclist killed (murdered) on our roads, it does make you feel as mad as hell.

Cyclic Said in his post : MURDER! I think it is murder.
Failier to stop for the police; hitting another vehicle; and then killing two cyclists, before trying to make his escape from the law. Has to be charged with Murder? Don't you think?

I must whole-heartely AGREE with DOC, He said it all in his post! Lets hope the CPS DON'T Go For A Lesser Conviction In This Case!

Surely, we cyclists as a collective body, can do something to demand better education for all road users? Something that would bring to the attention of everyone, the dangers we face when cycling on the roads of the UK in the 21st, century. I hope we can? It may save a life.

posted by Mostyn [407 posts]
28th January 2013 - 16:09

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so that will be £70 and 3 points - or am I being generous...

posted by silkred [16 posts]
28th January 2013 - 16:51

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Being seen speeding and failing to stop before the incident should enable the offence of causing death by dangerous driving to be applied, since there is evidence that the driving was well below standard before the incident occurred, so it isn't a "momentary lapse of attention".

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1339 posts]
28th January 2013 - 17:57

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silkred wrote:
so that will be £70 and 3 points - or am I being generous...

i thought £30 was the most recent fine

it should be double murder but it will be a 'you silly sausage! try not to do it again you rascal' kinda charge no doubt

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
28th January 2013 - 18:43

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Quote:
Failier to stop for the police; hitting another vehicle; and then killing two cyclists, before trying to make his escape from the law. Has to be charged with Murder? Don't you think?

I know emotions are (quite understandably) running high but it's not murder.
Murder is the premeditated, deliberate killing of someone. What he's done *should* be classed as manslaughter (where you end up killing someone through negligence or lack of care to their wellbeing). The actual charge that he's been arrested on seems to be "causing death by dangerous driving" although there's obviously other charges in there as well - failure to stop for police and leaving the scene.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/death_by_dangerous_...
gives a very good breakdown of what the expected punishment might be if they prosecute for DbDD. I *really* hope they throw the book at him - there have been far too many insultingly lenient sentences recently.

posted by crazy-legs [510 posts]
28th January 2013 - 21:07

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For murder you have to prove an intention to kill or cause really serious bodily harm. He has to intend it. It cannot merely be a result of someone's idiotic actions. The trouble with proving death by dangerous driving is showing how he was driving at the time of the accident not when seen by the police earlier. This can be done by scenes of crime evidence such as skid marks or eye witnesses or other means. Without evidence of how he was driving, it is difficult to prove cases. It is not merely a case of the CPS taking the easy option.

The trouble with lifetime driving bans is that criminals ignore them. There is little incentive to do otherwise. If there is a hope of getting their licence back they are more likely to comply.

posted by Jerm [39 posts]
28th January 2013 - 21:16

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As they are likely to ignore any ban, a long jail term should sort that out. Just a thought....

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [212 posts]
28th January 2013 - 23:02

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Forgot to say this is just awful - my heart goes out to their familes.

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [212 posts]
28th January 2013 - 23:04

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camera do nothing for driving standards, only speed, and that is corrected retrospectively - The UK must return to more police cops out there on the road to reverse this trend

spindoctore's picture

posted by spindoctore [49 posts]
29th January 2013 - 6:28

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I think the time for outrage will be when this case is judged and a verdict and sentence awarded, at the moment we should offer every sympathy toward the immediate families concerned.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [950 posts]
29th January 2013 - 10:46

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antonio

Absolutely, having read my previous post manslaughter would seem more appropriate. Let's see what happens.

posted by Cyclic [27 posts]
29th January 2013 - 16:05

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You're right, of course. But given the number of times we have been left slack-jawed at previous sentences, they'll probably get a severe telling off and a Mars Bar.

I really can't understand why the law keeps on taking incidents like these so lightly. If you kill or maim another person with a weapon you (rightly) find yourself in all manner of sh*t, yet, STILL, it seems you can drive into a cyclist with relative impunity. I hope this case proves me wrong.

Tragic. Utterly tragic.

posted by herohirst [55 posts]
29th January 2013 - 18:14

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latest update:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-21242077

So he failed to stop because he was already banned from driving and had no insurance.

Unbe-fucking-lievable. Another total scumbag who thinks his "right" to drive is more important than other peoples lives.

posted by crazy-legs [510 posts]
29th January 2013 - 22:58

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Has to be the maximum sentence this time, surely ?

Terrible what that family will be going through because of thus utter utter scumbag

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [184 posts]
30th January 2013 - 13:16

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