This post will detail the many falsehoods or deliberate lies in the Police Collision Report. It was prepared by Sergeant McBride who was crash investigator and its contents supported and supervised by Inspector White. Additional details of the cover ups will follow in future posts.
The Collision Report was the primary reference on which all conclusions were based including that Carson was blameless and the crash was caused by my brother driving down the wrong side of the road. Its contents and conclusion still remain in place and not amended even today and its many recipients have never been informed that it is a tissue of lies even though the Police admit it is. This includes the two insurance companies, the Public Prosecution Service, the Coroner, other police experts, civilian crash investigators, Forensics, various legal teams, and Courts. It is why my brother’s family received no compensation from either insurance company for his death and why they have had to live with the false evidence that was used to accuse him of causing his own death. This Report and subsequent false additions created to support its contents ensured that Carson was never considered to be charged for causing death by dangerous driving.
Soon after the crash I had started my own investigation, obtained a solicitor for legal advice and contacted several expert investigators to help with the more technical aspects of the collision. Some three months after the crash Chief Inspector Purce of Antrim Station confirmed that the investigating officer believed the accident arose as a result of the Nova’s presence on the wrong side of the road. I had previously been told by Sgt McBride on 24 Jan 2004 that the case had already been sent to th Public Prosecution Service for final disposal. Since I had already concluded that there may be a prima facie case to consider a charge of causing death by dangerous driving against Carson, I asked for a Forensic Accident investigator to be appointed to report on the case. This was eventually done and I will detail his involvement in a later post.
We asked for a copy of the Police Report but it was not made available to us until well after the Forensic Report was completed. It was made available, for a fee, on November 2004, some one year later.
The “Report of Traffic Collision” showed itself to consist of 21 pages and we had received 9 pages. I have no reason to believe that there was anything sinister in not including the missing 12 pages. Attached to the Report was a map of scale 1:50,000 prepared by the Mapping Section at Police Headquarters. The pages were laid out in a logical format with a list of questions down the left hand side and a series of boxes or sometimes blank spaces to be filled in on the right. Other questions required a narrative. It was obviously designed to ensure that all essential evidence collected by the Investigating Officer was accurately recorded and that no essential information was excluded. Here is a sample page from the Report :-
I quickly worked my way through the Investigator’s entries and then again line by line because I could hardly believe what I had just read. Mostly it was a load of fiction that bore no relation to the facts. I will list the errors:
- The time of the collision was shown as 1450 hours but reported to the Police at 1543 some 53 minutes after the event. This was clearly wrong.
- He failed to indicate if the person who reported the collision had made a statement.
- The exact location of the collision is reported as having occurred 30 metres on the Antrim side (south) of the junction with the Crosskeenan Road when in fact it happened some 85 metres from the junction and on the other side of the corner. This was an extremely serious error as any reader would conclude that the collision happened after the Nova came round the blind bend and the Subaru was on the straight part of the road. The opposite was true. The Subaru had come round the corner and crashed into the Nova.
- He failed to indicate who made the sketch map of the scene, or when it was made, a careless omission.
- He showed himself as a witness to the collision when clearly he was not.
- He did not show the cubic capacity of the Subaru’s engine as he is required to do so.
- He failed to list fully the type of Subaru which would have given a clear indication of its performance.
- He did not record the colour of the car.
- He failed to indicate if ABS brakes were fitted to the Subaru although this information may have had a vital significance in the crash.
- He failed to indicate if Davis was wearing his seatbelt given that his head had hit the windscreen, but instead completed the question with the letters N/A which could mean not available or not applicable.
- He suggested that the driver had given a breath test at the scene which proved negative. Given the driver’s injuries, I doubt if this occurred. He was later given a breath test at the hospital. This proved negative.
- He showed that the weather at the time was fine, even though he later briefed the Forensic Officer that it had been raining at the time.
- He failed to show the cc of the Nova which would have indicated its performance.
- In section 4.6 he failed to record that there was a critical bend in the road as the form instructs.
- Again in section 4.6 he indicated that the road narrowed at the scene of the accident even though careful measurements showed that it widened by a few inches at the scene.
- In section 5.1 he described the collision debris as being “all over the area” when it was his duty as Investigating Officer to accurately record it in detail.
- In the same section he states that some debris was distorted by the Emergency Services at the scene, even though Police photographs suggest that this wasn’t so and that none entered the debris field. One fire engine parked at the start of the debris field would not have distorted the main field. In any case, a slow-moving vehicle might crush debris, but it wouldn’t re-distribute it to any significant degree.
- In section 5.4 he stated that the Subaru “would have a clear unobstructed view of the road ahead.” This was untrue as he was clearly approaching a blind corner.
- In this same section, he suggested that the Nova driver had a clear view to the staggered junction when this was clearly not true. The video of the scene clearly shows these sight lines.
- In section 6.1 he stated that the Subaru driver was wearing a seatbelt, conflicting with his previous entry. The Police vehicle examiner stated clearly that Carson was not wearing his seatbelt. He later agreed with this and had his compensation reduced.
I checked the detailed map which accompanied the Report and found that the road was mapped as being perfectly straight without the hint of a bend. The blind bend had been dismissed.Three gouges were indicated instead of four but a series of thirteen marks on the road surface between gouges 1 and 2 are shown where I found none.
About five years later, I received a copy of the original sketch map drawn at the scene. It showed a perfectly straight road all the way from the final positions of the two vehicles to the staggered junction and showed neither debris nor gouge marks.
Some errors in the Report were relatively minor whilst other vital information was totally wrong and would give a false understanding of the causes of the collision. I found it almost impossible to understand how anyone could introduce so many errors into what was a crucial Police Report which would be used as a reference by every agency involved. After all, a man had died as a result of this collision, and it wasn’t simply the Report of a damage only accident. There was very little information in it that was not corrupted or falsified.
Of the 19 main errors, I assessed that 4 of them were neutral, 15 favoured Davis’s version of events and none favoured the driver of the Nova. If the errors were random, then one would expect that they would fall approximately equally for and against each driver. Using the Laws of Probability, I calculated that the chance of 15 out of 19 being randomly in favour of one driver were 32,768 to 1. The chance of none of the errors favouring the Nova driver was calculated to be 524,288 to 1. It is worth pointing out that Sgt McBride did not disagree about the existence of the errors only about how they arose, as will be explored later. It was clear to me that these could not be considered random errors.
I tried to find a reason why the Report was so inaccurate.
There is a behavioural phenomenon known as confirmation bias where there is a tendency to only seek and interpret information that confirms existing beliefs and ignoring everything else. A well-known example would be the cause of the Kegworth Air disaster where the pilot was convinced that the good engine was in fact the damaged one, and, in spite of indications to the contrary, he ignored the evidence and closed down the good engine with disastrous results. Sgt McBride arrived at the scene and was briefed about Raymond’s heart condition. As a result he may have come to the conclusion that Raymond had a heart attack and drifted onto the wrong carriageway. I considered that his later Report might be a case of confirmation bias. Later I was to be convinced that it was much more sinister and a more conscious act than that. However innocently it started out, it ended up by the Police changing a lot of other evidence to justify their initial findings.
Early in March or April of 2005, Sgt McBride admitted to the Police Ombudsman that much of his Report was wrong. However, neither he nor Inspector White felt the need to change it, or their conclusion based on it, or to tell the many recipients of the Report’s failings.
Over time, I told all the recipients of McBride’s admissions but none felt the need to question the original Report. The Chief Constable ( Hugh Ord) was also informed but did nothing. Even in 2012 when Chief Constable Hamilton called for a new investigation and found that the Report was wrong, his investigator would not admit that the conclusion was also wrong.He did not even suggest that the Collision Report should be changed. By then other lies had been introduced in order to reinforce the findings and to cover up the original Report.Those additional lies were taken as fact by the investigator. I will detail those lies much later in this blog and name the perpetrators of them.
Is it too harsh to call Sgt McBride and Inspector White liars ? You can decide for yourself by reading the following evidence.
Every witness, including the Police and Ambulance phone records show that the crash happened at 2.49-2.50 pm.
Within the first two weeks I had informed the Police that I was told by two reliable witnesses that Carson was speaking to his wife on his mobile phone at the time of the crash and that she heard it happen.
On 22nd January 2004, I was told by Sgt McBride that “the police found no evidence that the driver was on his mobile phone at the time of the accident and that he hadn’t checked his wife’s mobile or home phone as he wasn’t permitted to do so.”
On 23rd July 2005 in response to a question posed by the Police Ombudsman through my solicitor regarding my allegation about the use of a mobile phone used by Carson at the time of the crash, Inspector Ian White wrote :- “Re the phone call – Police have already checked the mobile phone account of this person, as agreed by you. No call was made at the relevant time on checking this account. Mrs Carson may state her husband phoned immediately after the collision however Mrs Carson was not present at the scene and cannot say when the collision occurred. Therefore no further investigation is necessary.”
On 26th November 2004, I received a copy of the Collision Report. The witness statements were missing from the bundle even though they had been paid for.
On 14th December 2004 the seven witness statements arrived with a covering letter from Dorothy ……….. of the Criminal Justice Unit for District Commander which stated “The witness statements are enclosed for your perusal, no other statements are available.” The one statement by Carson was included.
On 8th November 2005, through my solicitor, I received a 2nd statement written by Carson . It had been passed to us from Dorothy ……… Previously I had not known of its existence, but McBride and therefore White did when they made their statements to me on 22nd January 20004 and 23rd July 2005 respectively.
The statement was written by Carson on 5th January 2004 and witnessed by McBride at the time !
In his second statement Carson admitted that his phone record showed that he had made a call to his wife at 2.48pm, ie just a minute or two before the official time of the crash and argued that he crash was at 2.44 pm instead.
Much later in this blog, I will give you full details of the fantastic fairytale that the Police then spun in to change the time of the crash to 2.44 pm to agree with Carson’s assertion in his second statement. You will be able to read Carson’s statements in the next post.
Meanwhile, you may wish to ponder if you would be happy to have either of these two officers deal with a case you were involved with. You might also wonder if either will be held account for their behaviour.
I hope you all had a lovely Easter. The weather today is pretty awful.