Speeding Dorset police officer injures mum after crashing into family car

PC Harry Chaplin hit the Honda Civic while travelling up to 81mph in Weymouth. Credit: BPM Media

A speeding police officer in Dorset crashed into a family car and injured a mum-of-two.

In July last year, PC Harry Chaplin hit a Honda Civic while travelling up to 81mph in Littlemoor Road in Weymouth.

Winchester Crown Court was shown footage of another police car taking over the family car, which was being driven by a different police officer.

It then began to turn right into Chalbury Close and as it did so, the second police car being driven by PC Chaplin struck the rear offside of the family car.

Both police cars had their blue lights and sirens on at the time.

Nicholas Cotter, prosecuting, said that Chaplin had been driving at between 73mph-81mph in the 30mph residential zone.

He said this was “excessive,” even when responding to an accident.

The Honda was being driven by Patrick Mulqueen with his wife Claire and their two young children as passengers in the car.

Mrs Mulqueen was knocked unconscious and suffered a brain bleed. Mr Mulqueen suffered bruising and cuts and the two children had bruising from their seat harnesses.

In a victim statement read to the court, Mrs Mulqueen said that the crash happened after they had recently moved to the area.

She said: “We were excited to start this new chapter together and spend the summer at the sea side. The actions of the police officer overshadowed what should have been a happy time for our family.”

She explained that her brain injury had left her exhausted, suffering anxiety and “not like herself”.

She added: “I remember feeling guilty I couldn’t give my children the summer they deserved as I was so easily tired and overwhelmed.”

Chaplin, 27 and from Weymouth, was originally charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving - but the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to the lesser charge of careless driving. 

Judge Angela Morris said: “The speed you travelled was a serious error of judgement by you.”

Chaplin was made to pay compensation to the family and given eight penalty points, but the judge said that she would not disqualify Chaplin from driving because he was “driving towards a serious RTA and not simply exceeding the speed limit”.

Dorset Police assistant chief constable Steve Lyne said: “Police drivers undergo intensive driver training and regular refresher courses to ensure that they drive to the safest standards and in accordance with the law.

“There are exemptions allowing officers to travel in excess of the speed limit at times, but this must always be done so safely.

“Where this highest standard is not met, we will present evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who will determine if any action should be taken.

“This matter will now be subject to misconduct proceedings and as such it would in appropriate to comment further.”