TV producer cleared of deliberately crashing a car into his bike
A TV producer has been cleared of deliberately causing a car to crash into the back of his bike in a case described as “unique and bizarre” by his famous lawyer.
Paul Crompton, 54, was charged with suddenly braking in front of a Ford Focus Estate during an alleged road rage incident on Ladywell Road in Lewisham, southeast London, on October 24, 2020.
Prosecutors claimed the cyclist ‘thrown abuse’ at driver Derek Pipe, 74, and deliberately blocked his path after their vehicles approached each other on the narrow residential road.
But magistrates at Bexley Magistrates’ Court acquitted him of a ‘without care or attention’ constituency charge after a summary trial on Thursday.
Mr Crompton, who has produced award-winning shows including Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau, said he tried to warn the driver of his presence but Mr Pipe failed to notice him on the road .
His lawyer, Nick Freeman, who successfully defended David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson against alleged motoring offences, said the cyclist would now pursue civil proceedings.
Giving evidence, Mr Pipe claimed Mr Crompton cut his rear-view mirror as he ‘dashed’ up the hill, past him and shouting curses at his vehicle.
“The cyclist came outside of me, then put his bike in the front of my car towards the windshield and started shouting swear words, shouting, from a very intimidating and aggressive way “, did he declare.
The motorist, who has no points on his license and has been driving for decades, said he then started moving again at less than five miles per hour behind the cyclist before Mr Crompton stopped two time.
“I was just moving forward safely behind him, then all of a sudden he stopped a second time,” he told the court.
“The distance we covered together was so short that it was impossible for me to press the brake in time.”
But the cyclist said it was the driver who put him in danger by forcing him into a tight space between the Ford Focus and a row of parked cars.
He told the court he once knocked on Mr Pipe’s window to alert the driver that he might be ‘sandwiched’, but the driver appeared unaware.
The collision left Mr Crompton with soft tissue damage and left a ‘terrible V’ bump on the rear wheel of his bicycle, the court heard.
“I wanted to warn him that he had made a dangerous move and hopefully a warning would mean he would think about it next time,” he said.
“I knocked on his window and shouted ‘Didn’t you see me?’ very strong.”
The married father-of-two said he then drove past the car without stopping before being ‘catapulted’ forward over the handlebars when the motorist crashed into his rear wheel.
Mr Crompton, of Lewisham, called the allegations against him ‘crazy’, adding: ‘He (Mr Pipe) had no idea I was there.’
He added that he only got angry after the collision, at which time Mr Pipe also seemed “angry”, according to the cyclist.
Prosecutor Norleen Ibe said the driver provided “credible and consistent” evidence, but Mr Freeman said the account was “littered with confusion”.
The defense lawyer added that even if Mr Crompton had stopped suddenly, the driver would have breached the rules of the road by not ensuring ‘sufficient distance’ between him and the bike in front of him.
He said the allegation that the cyclist intended to cause the accident was “ridiculous”, leading to “this rather unique and bizarre situation in which Mr Crompton finds himself accused of riding without care and attention”.
Mr Crompton was due to fly to Italy the next day to oversee a £35,000 shoot for a documentary and had no reason to take a ‘suicide bomber course’ which would have endangered both himself and the driver, did he declare.
Bench chair Christina Pride said: ‘We have heard two different accounts of the incident.
“The prosecution has not proven the case so that we are sure beyond reasonable doubt. We therefore find Mr Crompton not guilty,” she added.
Speaking in court after being cleared, Mr Crompton told the PA news agency he was “completely, totally relieved”.
“Although it sounds far-fetched, you still wonder what direction they’ll take because it’s one person’s word against another.
Mr Freeman, who has previously been dubbed ‘Mr Loophole’, said: “The whole thing has been weird.
“A total waste of people’s time, hassle and money. It took three hours. This is probably costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds.
He added: ‘Mr Crompton will now bring civil proceedings against Mr Pipe.’
The Crown Prosecution Service has been contacted for comment.