Police officer denies causing crash deaths

TWO MEN riding a stolen police motorcycle died when a detective constable drove his unmarked car into their path, Winchester Crown Court was told yesterday.

Shaun Starr, 32, and the pillion passenger, Keith Buck, 18, were killed in the incident on 18 July last year in Hartcliffe, Bristol. The detective constable is charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and another officer is accused of dangerous driving.

Michael Kallisher QC, for the prosecution, told the jury that events began when a regional crime squad motorcycle, complete with highly sophisticated radio equipment, was stolen, leading to a hunt by a 'substantial number' of officers.

The stolen 1,000cc BMW machine was seen travelling at speeds of up to 100mph, he said. But the riders' deaths were due to the dangerous driving of Detective Constable Robert Wallington, who, he claimed, angled his car on the wrong side of the road as they approached him.

'It is difficult to conceive a clearer example of dangerous driving,' Mr Kallisher said.

One of the riders was thrown into a tree and the other was thrown into the air on impact with Det Con Wallington's car.

Seconds earlier, in a separate incident, Detective Constable Anthony Knight tried to block the motorcycle's way with his car, the court was told. It was a 'extremely dangerous' move, Mr Kallisher said, which caused the motorcycle to brake and swerve.

Det Con Wallington, 37, denies causing the death of the two riders by dangerous driving. Det Con Knight, 32, denies dangerous driving. Both detectives work for the Regional Crime Squad.

In a statement, Det Con Wallington said that when he realised the stolen motorcycle was coming towards him he flashed his headlights repeatedly. He then saw the motorcycle weave and added: 'At this stage I was horrified to see the driver look behind him over his left shoulder. He continued to take a prolonged look behind him. He was not looking where he was going.'

Det Con Wallington said he curled up when he realised that impact was inevitable.

Mr Kallisher said no other witness had seen the man on the motorcycle look back over his shoulder.

The trial, expected to last two weeks, continues today.