Sophie Wessex ‘deeply saddened’ by death of woman hit by police escort motorcycle

Helen Holland dies after sustaining ‘multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries’

Stuti Mishra
Wednesday 24 May 2023 09:06 BST
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A pensioner was hit by a police motorcycle escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh
A pensioner was hit by a police motorcycle escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh (PA Wire)

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The Duchess of Edinburgh has said she is “deeply saddened” by the death of a woman who was hit by a motorcycle that was part of her police escort.

Helen Holland, 81, was struck at the junction of West Cromwell Road and Warwick Road in Earl’s Court, west London, on the afternoon of May 10.

Ms Holland’s son Martin told the BBC she died after sustaining “multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries”.

Helen Holland, from Birchanger, Essex, was visiting her sister in London when she was struck by the police motorbike
Helen Holland, from Birchanger, Essex, was visiting her sister in London when she was struck by the police motorbike (Family handout)

He said she fought “for her life for nearly two weeks... but irreversible damage to her brain finally ended the battle today”.

It is understood Sophie will be in touch privately with Ms Holland’s family.

On Wednesday morning, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The Duchess of Edinburgh is deeply saddened to hear that Helen Holland has passed away.

“Her Royal Highness’s deepest condolences and sympathies go to all of Ms Holland’s family.”

Ms Holland was using a “safe route of [a] pedestrian crossing” when she was struck by the motorcycle, according to her grandson. She was in London visiting her older sister at the time of the accident.

Her son and daughter-in-law Lisa-Marie Holland had earlier told BBC, following the accident, that they were “shocked and sickened at her extensive injuries”.

Sophie, pictured with her husband Prince Edward, has expressed her condolences
Sophie, pictured with her husband Prince Edward, has expressed her condolences (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The incident has been placed under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which obtained CCTV footage from nearby properties for further examination.

The IOPC has also appealed for witnesses present at the scene to come forward and said officers who were present would be interviewed.

“Our thoughts are with the woman, who has sustained life-threatening injuries, and her family,” Amanda Rowe, the regional director of the IOPC, said at the time.

“We have been in touch with them to explain our role and will keep them regularly updated as the investigation progresses.”

Buckingham Palace had previously released a statement addressing the incident, expressing the duchess’s concern and support.

“The duchess’s heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the injured lady and her family,” the statement read.

“She is grateful for the swift response by the emergency services and will keep abreast of developments.”

The Special Escort Group of the Metropolitan Police accompanies various prominent individuals, including members of the Royal Family, for security.

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