London police officer ‘pressured girlfriend to thwart speeding inquiry’

·2-min read
Richard Hammond  (Evening Standard)
Richard Hammond (Evening Standard)

A London police officer is accused of pressuring his girlfriend into thwarting a speeding investigation to protect his career by telling her “if you love me you will do this”.

Pc Richard Hammond, 36, was allegedly caught speeding on Tower Bridge in then-partner Vicky Courtis’s car as he drove home from a shift as a specialist firearms officer.

Ms Courtis told investigators at the time that she could not be sure who was at the wheel but now claims that this was part of a plot instigated by Hammond to pervert the course of justice.

Giving evidence at Inner London crown court, the drama teacher said she and Hammond, who met through dating app Tinder in 2017, had rekindled their romance after a short break when the speeding incident happened.

“He asked me to say I didn’t know who was driving,” she said. “He said if we say we don’t know who was driving, they would drop the prosecution. He said he couldn’t take the points — being a police officer you need a clean record of driving. We had just got back together. He was kind of saying, ‘if you love me you will do this’. Later on, it developed into, ‘you will take the points — if you don’t I will lose my job and it will be your fault’. I was trying to prove to him that I did love him and would do that.”

Ms Courtis’s Fiat was caught speeding at 30mph in a 20mph zone at just after 6am on August 26, 2018.

She said she went through with Hammond’s suggestion to pretend they did not know who had been driving, succeeding in making the prosecution “go away” amid confusion over who was at the wheel. But she subsequently reported Hammond to police on Valentine’s Day 2019, just weeks after their romance had ended.

Prosecutor Obi Mgbokwere told jurors Hammond was responsible for “putting the police on a false trail”.

Hammond, of West Kensington, denies acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice. He was arrested while on a specialist driving course, and told investigators Ms Courtis sometimes offered to drive him to work.

“He said they didn’t know between them who was driving the vehicle on that day,” said Mr Mgbokwere. The trial continues.

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