Northamptonshire Police cleared of any wrongdoing over Isham cyclist death

Officers involved in the pursuit of a burglar who killed a cyclist when he reversed into him have been told that they were not to blame for the incident.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 11:01 am
Updated Monday, 25th November 2019, 11:02 am
Arthur Bourlet

The Independent Office for Police Conduct had been investigating the tragic incident that happened on April 11 this year during which Burton Latimer cyclist Arthur Bourlet received injuries that would prove fatal.

The 75-year-old was reversed into by burglar Gary Lynch, 55, following a high-speed pursuit through Northamptonshire.

The IOPC have released the findings of their investigation and have praised officers who helped Mr Bourlet after he suffered the injuries that eventually killed him.

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Their report described how officers were involved in the 80 mph road traffic pursuit involving a stolen Mitsubishi Shogun that had activated automatic number plate recognition cameras in the area.

The report continued: “A number of police vehicles became involved in the pursuit and tactical contact was made with the car, which had damaged property and made contact with a number of police vehicles.

“This included what appeared to be a deliberate reverse ram of one vehicle, which was disabled by the impact. Police vehicles attempted a boxing manoeuvre to bring the pursuit to a close, but were unsuccessful in containing the car. As the car reversed from police vehicles, it collided with a cyclist, who had just dismounted from his bike.

“Officers provided the man with immediate medical care following the collision, until ambulance staff arrived. The man was transported to hospital, but died on 3 May.

“Our investigators attended the scene and conducted an examination. We obtained statements from a number of police officers who had been involved with the incident. Our investigators also obtained and reviewed footage from a dashboard-mounted camera and officers’ body-worn cameras.

“Evidence indicated that the pursuit was justifiable and had been authorised by the Control Room Supervisor. Given the way the driver of the pursued vehicle was driving and the offences which he was suspected of committing, we were of the view that the decision to make tactical contact was justified.

”We considered that the ongoing risk assessments conducted by officers as the pursuit progressed appeared commensurate with the circumstances. We were of the opinion that there was no evidence that the officers could reasonably have been expected to foresee the presence of the cyclist.

“We noted that officers had been conscientious in providing the cyclist with medical care while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Footage showed that they spoke with the man to ensure he remained conscious, obtained information from him on his identity, address and next of kin, and provided medical care.

“Based on the evidence available we found no indication that any person serving with the police may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings, or had committed a criminal offence.”

Gary Lynch, of no fixed abode, was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving and other offences. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving and 18 months for burglary, to run consecutively. He was also banned from driving for 10 years.

Mr Bourlet’s daughter later said her dad has been the one that ‘they all relied on’, adding: “He is missed greatly by his family and although no sentence can right that wrong, it does give us a sense of redress to know he [Lynch] is off the streets and cannot cause harm to any other families."