'Police killed my mum', says son of woman hit by Duchess of Edinburgh motorcade

The son of an 81-year-old woman who died after being hit by a police motorcycle escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh has hit out at the force's response, saying "police killed my mum".

Martin Holland said his mother Helen Holland fought “for her life for nearly two weeks… but irreversible damage to her brain finally ended the battle today”.

He said she was using the “safe route of [a] pedestrian crossing” when she was struck by the motorcycle.

Ms Holland, a great-grandmother from Birchanger in Essex, was hit by a police motorcycle escorting the duchess at the junction of Cromwell Road and Warwick Road in west London on the afternoon of 10 May.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been investigating the incident and said on 19 May they were appealing for witnesses and had taken CCTV from nearby properties.

Duchess of Edinburgh, Sophie Wessex Credit: Credit: Yui Mok/PA

On Wednesday, Mr Holland said the family were "angry" about what happened to his mother, saying that police "must be answerable to the law".

He said: "Police killed my mum.

"Mum Helen Holland died today after suffering multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries while she used the safe route of pedestrian crossing on West Cromwell Road at Nevern Road, Nr Warwick Road.

"She was fighting for her life for nearly two weeks while doctors and nurses repaired her broken body in intensive care but irreversible damage to her brain finally ended the battle today.

"We are very angry that someone so pure and kind was caught up in such a violent and unescapable situation."

He added: "The police have not issued any comment or apology and we assume that the killer is still on the loose... riding a police motorcycle and we fear now for the safety of others.

"They must be answerable to the law. Ordinary people should not be expendable to protect the chosen few.

"They need to change they way they go about these escorting duties. Locals dislike the way they whistle and shout out for people to get out the way and of course this warning can't be heard at high speed anyway."

Mrs Holland's grand-daughter Helena described her grandmother as "the most caring, kind lady, who was loved by many".

"She was the type of lady where nothing would stop her from doing what she loved.

"Myself and loved ones would never class her as an ‘elderly’ lady, she was young at heart and young at mind.

"The whole family are devastated to lose her as she was taken too soon from us."

She said she could not comment on the circumstances of the crash, adding: "But what I can comment on is how amazing my nan was. She was a strong, independent and loving woman and fought strongly until the end. She will be missed immensely."

Buckingham Palace said the duchess, Sophie, was "deeply saddened" by the news of Ms Holland's death.

The spokesperson said: "Her Royal Highness's deepest condolences and sympathies go to all of Ms Holland's family."

Ch Supt Richard Smith, head of royalty and specialist protection at the Metropolitan Police, said the force was co-operating with the IOPC's independent investigation.

“Police officers come to work to serve the public and keep people safe and this tragic outcome is being felt by colleagues across the Met. Our thoughts are very much with the woman’s family and loved ones at this sad time.

“Officers know that their actions, both on and off duty, are open to scrutiny and following our referral of the incident, the IOPC launched an independent investigation – we continue to co-operate with and support that inquiry.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been investigating the incident and has taken CCTV from nearby properties for examination.

A spokesman for the watchdog said: “We began an independent investigation after we were informed by the force of the incident that night [10 May].

“Our investigation is at an early stage.

“We also issued a witness appeal last week and would still like to hear from anyone who saw or recorded any part of this incident who is yet to speak to us.”

Any witnesses can contact the IOPC on 0300 3035621 or email westcromwellroad@policeconduct.gov.uk.

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