Motorcyclist widow gets justice after spending thousands investigating
Widow of motorcyclist who was told her husband was partly to blame for the crash that killed him gets justice after spending thousands on her own investigation following police blunders
- David Fudge, 66, was killed when William Curtis did a U-turn on the A4146 road
- Police refused to send the case to CPS so his wife paid for private investigation
- Local policing unit was already under fire after an internal review found failures
- 88-year-old Curtis has since been found guilty of death by dangerous driving
The widow of a motorcyclist who was told her husband was partly to blame for the crash which killed him and that the driver would not be prosecuted has got justice after paying for her own investigation.
David Fudge, 66, was out with fellow motorcycle club members when William Curtis, who is now 88, did a U-turn with his Hyundai on the A4146 near Billington, Bedfordshire, and fatally crashed into him in November 2018.
Claire Montgomery and her husband were set to go to Costa Rica to celebrate his retirement the day before the crash.
The elderly driver of the car, William Curtis, in his 80s, was deemed ‘not fit to be interviewed’ until seven months after the fatal crash in June 2019. Police then decided no further action was to be taken.
Ms Montgomery later found out that the granddaughter of driver Mr Curtis was a Cambridgeshire Police staff member and was at her grandfather’s interview as ‘support’, the BBC reports.
The widow of a motorcyclist who was told her husband was partly to blame for the crash which killed him and that the driver would not be prosecuted has got justice after paying for her own investigation. Pictured, Claire Montgomery and her late husband David Fudge, 66
David Fudge was out with fellow motorcycle club members when William Curtis (pictured), who is now 88, did a U-turn with his Hyundai on the A4146 near Billington, Bedfordshire, and fatally crashed into him in November 2018
It is understood that she did not ‘interrupt or impede the interview’.
A month after the interview, Mr Curtis’s granddaughter emailed an officer asking for an update on the collision case, leading her to receive ‘management advice’ but was not considered for a disciplinary matter.
The officer told Ms Montgomery, she claims: ‘If it wasn’t for the fact he [Mr Fudge] was killed, they would have been interviewing him as well.’
Mr Fudge had enjoyed riding motorbikes for 50 years and had never reported being in an accident before.
The joint roads policing unit of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire was already in hot water in 2018, after an internal review found ‘failures requiring immediate attention’.
It added that it ‘appears to be an accepted current practice’ that ‘witnesses or suspects were not being interviewed until a considerable period of time after the incident’.
Mr Fudge (pictured) had enjoyed riding motorbikes for 50 years and had never reported being in an accident before
Mr Fudge’s death was reviewed by Emma Whitting, senior coroner for Bedfordshire, who rejected the police’s conclusions about the crash and said she could ‘understand why [Mr Fudge’s] family would have been unsatisfied by the police investgation’.
She added: ‘In my view… the collision occurred when the driver of the Hyundai turned into the path of Mr Fudge,’ the BBC reported.
Following the coronary report, police reviewed the case, but refused to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, leaving Ms Montgomery to spend thousands on expert David Loat to carry out his own investigation.
She sent his report on to Garry Forsyth, Bedfordshire’s Chief Constable, who she says after several weeks ‘finally conceded defeat’ and ‘admitted that they got it wrong’.
Ms Montgomery says that Mr Loat described the original police forensic report as a ‘disgrace’ and was ‘shocked and stunned’, ‘laying the blame fairly and squarely with the driver’.
Claire Montgomery and her husband David Fudge, pictured left, were set to go to Costa Rica to celebrate his retirement the day before the crash
Mr Curtis was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving after the case was viewed by Essex Police who finally referred it to CPS.
A trial at Cambridge Crown Court found Curtis, of Irchester, Northamptonshire, guilty after denying the charge. He will be sentenced on 30 September.
Widow Ms Montgomery told the BBC: ‘They just did not do a proper investigation, and if they’ve done it wrong in this case how many other cases have they got wrong?
‘People could have been sent to prison, or not sent to prison, based on erroneous reports.’
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