Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 17:04 UK

Death crash officer was on errand

Sandra and Peter Simpson
Sandra Simpson was walking home with her husband when she was hit

An ex-Met police officer who crashed into a woman after driving at 100mph on an errand in a patrol car has admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Malcolm Searles, 24, hit Sandra Simpson as he went to deliver a birthday card, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Mrs Simpson, 61, died when the patrol car hit her on a street in Bromley, south-east London, last August.

Searles, who has since been sacked from the force, had also used sirens and blue lights during the errand.

The court heard he had been driving at 50mph in a 30mph zone shortly before the crash, on 23 August.

Mrs Simpson had been walking with her husband, Peter, in Homesdale Road when the accident happened.

The Metropolitan Police Service would like to take this opportunity to say sorry to Sandra Simpson's family and we offer our sympathies to them
Police statement

Searles, who was based at Bromley police station, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, dangerous driving and speeding.

He is due to be sentenced on 26 October and faces up to 15 years in prison.

His lawyer, Shula de Jersey, told the court: "The death of Sandra Simpson on 23 August last year was a tragedy for which Malcolm Searles accepts full responsibility and apologises unreservedly to her family and friends for his actions that night.

"He does not expect their forgiveness but he does want them to know he is truly sorry."

She said Searles also apologised to the Met "if the consequence of his behaviour has damaged public confidence in the service".

The officer was charged after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated the fatal crash. He was dismissed from the Met in April following disciplinary action.

'High standards'

IPCC investigators found Searles had gone on the personal errand, while on duty, to his sister's house in Swanley, Kent, using the police car. He had also picked up a passenger and drove around the area before returning to the address.

The GPS tracker and an incident data recorder in the car showed it had been driven at speeds of more than 100mph, at times with flashing blue lights and sirens in use.

In a statement, the Met said: "The Metropolitan Police Service would like to take this opportunity to say sorry to Sandra Simpson's family and we offer our sympathies to them."

It said the actions of Searles should not be seen as a reflection upon thousands of officers who drive to high standards.



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