Police officer lied that driver looked drunk to cover for colleague’s 50mph crash

A police officer faces jail for lying to cover for a colleague who left a man critically injured in an 50mph crash caused by his reckless driving.

PC Donna Coker, 33, provided a false statement saying the victim, ‘appeared to be drunk’, telling her colleague: ‘Hope it helps’.

She was caught out when her bodycam footage revealed she had ‘barely engaged with Adam Tarnowski, who suffered four fractured ribs, a fractured sternum and lacerations to his liver and spleen in the August 2017 crash in Ealing, west London.

Mr Tarnowski, a tree surgeon, spent more than three weeks in hospital and many months in rehabilitation.

PC Varinder Sehmi, 38, whose marked BMW collided with Mr Tarnowski’s Volvo on Uxbridge Road was convicted earlier this year of causing serious injury by dangerous driving while responding to a 999 call.

Evidence presented in court showed he reached 89mph – nearly 3 times the speed limit – and was driving around 43 to 49mph at the time of the collision.

PC Coker was the first officer on the scene and spent some time securing the area with tape, jurors at Southwark Crown Court were told.

In a statement written while PC Sehmi was under criminal investigation, Coker said Mr Tarnowski ‘appeared to me to look drunk and then I started to record on my body-worn video camera.’

She also claimed to have spoken with other officers about breathalysing Mr Tarnowski and PC Sehmi.

But her bodycam footage did not show her having any such conversations, the court heard.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Paul Goddard later said the footage ‘clearly showed she had barely engaged with the civilian driver – and had therefore lied when asserting in her statement that she had had a close look at him, and formed the opinion he was drunk’.

In court, prosecutor Kate Blumgart said: ‘This defendant produced a statement that was materially false, no doubt to help her colleague, PC Sehmi.

‘She sent it to her manager and also to PC Sehmi himself. She said: “FYI my statement is done, hope that it helps.”‘

Coker told jurors she had no idea PC Sehmi was under investigation and that ‘we as a team usually share statements with each other’ and between ‘different teams’.

‘I sign my statements “Hope it helps”, it’s just like “Kind regards” or “Many thanks”, it’s just “Hope it helps”, that sort of thing,’ she added.

The 33-year-old later told detectives she was ‘not a particularly close colleague’ of Sehmi’s and had ‘no motive to lie or deliberately misrepresent my recollection’ .

Both officers were based at Ealing Police Station, on the same road where the crash happened.

PC Coker, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, sobbed as she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. She will be sentenced next month.

Guy Ladenburg, defending, said: ‘She has been through an awful lot in the past three years.

‘An ectopic pregnancy and a termination on account of chromosomal deficiencies.’

PC Sehmi was sentenced to a nine-month suspended jail term and disqualified for two years as well as being ordered to do 80 hours’ unpaid work and pay £2,000 in costs.

His conviction and sentence can only be reported now that PC Coker has been convicted to avoid prejudicing her trial.

Content retrieved from: https://metro.co.uk/2021/06/22/met-officer-lied-that-crash-victim-looked-drunk-to-cover-for-colleague-14810086.

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