Family of woman killed by a police driving at 84mph in Brixton call for 999 speed limit

The parents of a woman knocked down and killed by a police car travelling at 84mph have slammed an “insulting” sentence given to the Met officer who was behind the wheel.

Shante Daniel-Folkes was thrown into the air by PC Nadeem Patel’s patrol vehicle on Stockwell Road in Brixton on the evening of June 9, 2021.

Ms Daniel-Folkes, 25, who had let another police car pass by before attempting to cross the road, was rendered immediately unconscious and died at the scene.

The artist’s mother Janine Daniel backed the trial judge who called for a review of 999 call speeds in built-up areas.

She told BBC News: “They shouldn’t be going 84mph, that’s just madness.”

Mrs Daniel described being informed by police that her daughter had died as the “worst night of my life”, adding: "I shut the door. I told them I didn’t want to hear it.

“I could have died. I just couldn’t stand up. I collapsed to my knees and with all the fibres in my being I let out a big scream and I couldn’t stop.

“It was very hard. I just keep on reliving that night over and over. It’s not nice. No parent should have to go through that. It feels like I’m being tortured every single day.”

Shante Daniel-Folkes died in Brixton in June 2021 (ES Composite)
Shante Daniel-Folkes died in Brixton in June 2021 (ES Composite)

In February, Patel pleaded guilty to causing her death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years in prison and disqualified from driving for 54 months.

PC Gary Thomson, driving just ahead of him and not involved in the collision, was cleared of dangerous driving but convicted of the lesser offence of careless driving.

Judge Mark Lucraft KC fined Thomson £500 and gave him five penalty points and ordered him to pay costs of £500.

Ms Daniel-Folkes’s father Rodney Folkes described Thompson’s sentence as “an insult to me, my family and our black community”.

He claimed: “The criminals here are the Metropolitan Police, the bosses, the system who let it happen who make hundreds, if not thousands, of police officers drive dangerously on the road too fast.

“They’re the ones I blame. I want them to drive at a safe pace. Considering that most driving limits in residential areas are 20/30mph, why can a police officer drive at 83.9mph?”

Ms Daniel-Folkes had been walking across the road at around 11.20pm close to a pedestrian crossing when Thomson’s vehicle passed her with its emergency lights and siren activated.

Around three to four seconds later, she continued to cross and was struck by Patel’s vehicle.

He had earlier switched off his front emergency lights so to not affect Thomson’s vision in the lead vehicle but did have his siren activated.

Although exempt from the 30mph limit, Patel had reached a peak speed of 83.9mph on Stockwell Road just 115 meters from the car’s final stopping point.

The car was travelling around 55mph at the time of the collision after Patel braked for two seconds from a speed of more than 81mph.

The vehicle being driven by Thomson also passed Ms Daniel-Folkes at speeds between 70-79mph.

New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police (PA Wire)
New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police (PA Wire)

As he was sentencing Patel in February, Judge Lucraft referred to “moving” statements from her family who described her as “kind, funny, loving, and very creative”.

He said: “She is described as bubbly and carefree – a lover of life and someone who was ambitious. She loved fashion and design. She was a mentor, an artist, a certified nail technician looking forward to opening her own salon and to a bright future for herself and her young son who she adored. She was much loved by all who knew her.

“The family are devastated by the loss of Shante. They express a numb and empty feeling at Shante’s loss and speak about the long-lasting impact on the family and that on Shante’s young son in particular – a son she will not see grow up and make his own way in life.”

The prosecutions followed an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

IOPC director Amanda Rowe said: “This incident has had a devastating impact on the lives of Shante Daniel-Folkes’ family and friends and our sympathies remain with them and all those affected by this.

“Pc Patel drove at excessive speeds at night-time throughout busy south London streets and, though he was responding to a report of an emergency incident, it does not excuse his dangerous driving behaviour which tragically resulted in a young woman’s death.

“The convictions of these officers shows that they have been held accountable.”

The IOPC said its investigation identified potential learning for the Met around creating a policy on speed caps for officers responding to incidents, and whether such caps could improve safety.

It consulted with the force and now plans to make a formal learning recommendation on a speed cap policy.

The police watchdog also recommended the Met review its current practices when officers are driving in convoy or tandem while responding to incidents. The MPS accepted the recommendation and made changes to its policy and training, the IOPC said.

In May 2023, following an accelerated misconduct hearing, Patel was dismissed with immediate effect from the Met and placed on the College of Policing’s barred list – meaning he cannot serve again as an officer.

The IOPC found Thomson had a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to his driving prior to the collision and, following the verdict, it will progress misconduct proceedings against him.

Commander Seb Adjei-Addoh, who is in charge of the Met’s policing in Lambeth, said: “My thoughts and condolences are with the family of Shante Daniel-Folkes. The circumstances are tragic and have brought upset to our communities in Lambeth.

“Our Police Community Engagement team will be working hard to listen and respond to local concerns stemming from this incident and trial verdict over the coming days.”