Police officer 'crashed into house before fleeing and lying'

A police officer would have been sacked, had he not already resigned, after he fled a crash before lying to a police officer about his involvement. <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
A police officer would have been sacked, had he not already resigned, after he fled a crash before lying to a police officer about his involvement. (Image: Newsquest)

A police officer fled after crashing into a Hertfordshire home so hard it caused the property to "shudder".

Metropolitan Police officer Eliot McDermott hit the house while off-duty on June 29 2020 but did not stop at the scene.

He later claimed he left because he was “embarrassed” and was unaware of the damage, but this was disputed during a misconduct hearing.

Read more: Police officer sacked after asking man he pushed in Watford ‘it hurts, doesn’t it?’

Assistant commissioner Barbara Gray said: “Given that the occupant of the house described how the collision “caused the house to shudder” and caused him to “jolt his coffee” as he was sitting on the sofa, I do not find former PC McDermott’s account plausible.”

Watford Observer: Eliot McDermott was a serving PC with the Metropolitan Police when the incident happened
Watford Observer: Eliot McDermott was a serving PC with the Metropolitan Police when the incident happened

Eliot McDermott was a serving PC with the Metropolitan Police when the incident happened (Image: PA)

McDermott caused "significant damage" to the side of the property whilst turning his car around in a driveway, the hearing heard.

He returned on foot a shortly after to find officers at the scene. The hearing said he then lied about his involvement to an officer – McDermott said he “panicked” when questioned.

It was not until 12 hours after the crash that McDermott contacted police to admit what he had done.

On September 23 this year, he pleaded guilty to criminal damage and was fined £1,187,87.

Read more: Drug driver jailed after bus driver lost leg in head-on Herts crash

He resigned from the Met, serving his last day on November 14, but the hearing concluded had he not already quit, he would have been sacked for what happened in Buntingford.

Ms Grey said: “I accept that former PC McDermott had been having a difficult time within his family life and that this may well have had an impact upon his mental wellbeing. However I do not accept that this is an excuse for his actions.

“He drove away from the scene of a collision and lied to an officer when questioned about his involvement. I have not had sight of any evidence to suggest that he made any effort to speak to the householder at the time.

“He maintained that dishonest behaviour for several hours after the incident had occurred, knowing that it was the subject of a police investigation.

“I find this a clear breach of the Standard of Honesty and Integrity. I also find that the breach is so serious that, if former PC McDermott were still serving, it could justify his dismissal. Applying that definition I find the allegations proven in full as gross misconduct.”

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