Two Metropolitan Police Service officers have been convicted of driving offences, with one officer jailed for three years, following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into a collision in south London in which a 25-year-old female pedestrian died.
Police Constable (PC) Nadeem Patel, 28, was given the jail term for causing the death of Shante Daniel-Folkes by dangerous driving. PC Gary Thomson, 31, was today (7 August) convicted, by a jury at the Old Bailey, of careless driving in relation to the same incident. He was fined £500 plus court costs and had five points put on his driving licence.
PC Patel pleaded guilty in November 2022 and was sentenced at the Old Bailey in February 2023. His sentencing can now be reported following the conclusion of PC Thomson’s trial.
Both officers were driving separate marked police vehicles and responding to an emergency call when Ms Daniel-Folkes was hit by PC Patel’s vehicle in Stockwell Road, Brixton on 9 June 2021.
Our investigation established that PC Patel reached a maximum speed of 83.7mph on Stockwell Road, which has a 30mph speed limit, shortly before he collided with Ms Daniel-Folkes. He was driving with his police vehicle’s front blue lights inactive and about four seconds behind PC Thomson’s vehicle. Despite officers’ efforts who provided first aid, she tragically died at the scene.
Following a mandatory referral from MPS, we independently investigated the manner of driving by both officers, who were based at the Central South Command Unit.
They were responding to a report to police of a man in Herne Hill acting erratically, throwing rubbish into the road and a woman running away from him.
We obtained, reviewed and pieced together CCTV footage which showed the two police vehicles travelling towards the incident along South Lambeth Road, Clapham Road and Stockwell Road, up until the collision with Ms Daniel-Folkes. We reviewed the officers’ body-worn video and police radio transmissions.
We also obtained video recorded interviews and statements from witnesses, interviewed the two officers under criminal caution, commissioned an expert collision report and analysed data from the ‘black boxes’ in both police vehicles.
Evidence gathered during the investigation showed PC Patel’s vehicle was in collision with Ms Daniel-Folkes near a pedestrian crossing next to a convenience store in Stockwell Road at 11.20pm.
He was driving in ‘tandem’ with PC Thomson. driving approximately four seconds behind PC Thomson’s vehicle. PC Thomson reached a top speed of 79mph on Stockwell Road.
In his sentencing remarks the judge told PC Patel he was driving at a ‘grossly excessive speed’ and that his manner of driving, namely a short distance behind PC Thomson’s vehicle with his vehicle’s front blue lights inactive, had further increased the risk.
Our investigation found Ms Daniel-Folkes began to cross the road as PC Thomson’s vehicle passed and she was then struck by the vehicle being driven by PC Patel. Despite PC Patel applying emergency braking and attempting to steer away from her, his vehicle collided with her at approximately 55mph.
PC Patel was trained as a response driver in November 2019 and in April 2020 passed an additional MPS driver training course which included a specific element on driving in convoy.
On conclusion of our investigation in May 2022, we passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised charges against the officers.
IOPC director Amanda Rowe said: “This incident has had a devastating impact on the lives of Shante Daniel-Folkes’ family and friends and our sympathies remain with them and all those affected by this.
“PC Patel drove at excessive speeds at night-time throughout busy south London streets and, though he was responding to a report of an emergency incident, it does not excuse his dangerous driving behaviour which tragically resulted in a young woman’s death.
“The convictions of these officers shows that they have been held accountable.”
Our investigation also identified potential learning for the MPS around creating a policy on speed caps for officers responding to incidents, and whether such caps could improve safety.
We consulted with the force on this learning and, following the conclusion of this case, we now plan to make a formal learning recommendation to the force on a speed cap policy, to which the force would be required by law to respond.
We also recommended the MPS review its current practices when officers are driving in convoy/tandem while responding to incidents. The MPS accepted our recommendation and made changes to its policy and training.
As part of sentencing, PC Patel was also banned from driving for three years once released from prison.
In May 2023, following an accelerated misconduct hearing, PC Patel was dismissed with immediate effect from the MPS. He was also placed on the College of Policing’s barred list meaning he cannot serve again as an officer.
We also found PC Thomson had a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to his driving prior to the collision and, following today’s verdict, we will now progress misconduct proceedings against him with the MPS.