On 10 May, one of Sophie of Edinburgh’s security motorcyclists ran down Helen Hollan in West London. After a two-week battle with coma, the 81-year-old woman passed away. The police officer in question is now facing criminal charges.
“The impact propelled her more than 10 metres off the road”, commented Martin Hennessy, an eyewitness to the events of 10 May. On that day, in the Earl’s Court area of London, a member of Sophie of Edinburgh’s bodyguard ran down Helen Hollan on a motorbike. The violence was such that the 81-year-old woman was thrown into the air, almost ten metres from the point of impact. Although the fire brigade intervened quickly to treat the victim, she succumbed to her injuries – to the brain, but also to numerous fractures – after a valiant two-week battle against coma. In the wake of Helen Hollan’s death, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said that the Duchess of Edinburgh was “deeply saddened by the news”.
For Martin, the victim’s son, Prince Edward’s wife is not to blame. Instead, he directs his anger at the police officer responsible for the accident. And he’s not the only one. On Tuesday 6 June, the British media outlet The Mirror hinted that the Independent Office for Police Conduct could prosecute the officer responsible for manslaughter. This is a tragic incident and it is important that we carry out a thorough investigation to establish the circumstances of the incident, which will enable us to assess the actions and decision-making of the officer under investigation,” commented Amanda Rowe, Director of the IOPC. We will then decide whether to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision and whether the officer should be subject to disciplinary proceedings.”
Son calls for reform of motorbike officers
For Helen Hollan’s bereaved son Martin, the battle does not end there. In the wake of the tragic event that led to his mother’s death, he has called for radical reforms to the way police motorcades are run. During a visit to the scene of the accident, at the junction of Cromwell Road and Warwick Road in West London on Tuesday 6 June, the victim’s son accused motorcyclists of “endangering passers-by” when they drive to clear the way for the vehicle they are accompanying, as was the case with Prince Edward’s wife. It remains to be hoped that, at the end of the IOPC investigation, Martin’s demands will be heard and that incidents of this kind will remain only painful memories, for him as for the Duchess of Edinburgh.
Photo credits: Agence / Bestimage