Monday, 10 September 2012

Petronella Wyatt's mother

I have to say, that if the Daily Mail articles are correct, I feel really sorry for Petronella Wyatt's mother.

If we compare with we discover that Petronella Wyatt's poor mother has in fact been knocked down 3 times in two and a half years...

Once within 2 months of the 19th of Febuary 2010, by a cyclist "who did not have his lights on."  This caused her mother to fall on her back and hit her head, causing bleeding. When the cyclist didn't bother to stop, a kind passer-by took my mother to hospital, where was told she was lucky to have escaped concussion or a broken back, but had broken her arm.  Sadly, we're not told where or exactly what date this collision occoured, or which A&E she went to, so that one can't be verified.  (taken from - incidently note that the only comment that is left is the one about how she's wrong on what strict liability would mean).

The second pair of accidents are a bit more verifiable, and I'm tempted to pop a freedom of info request in to see what it blows up.  The first of the second incidents took place on the 16th of August, as her mother was crossing the road whilst shopping in London's Regent Street, presumbely at a pedestrian crossing, when a youth on a bicycle shot a red light, knocked her to the ground and left her with a broken arm. Now, we're told that kindly passers-by dragged her seemingly inert body on to the pavement and called an ambulance.  This should be traceable, be asking hospitals that she may have been taken to how many callouts to Regent Street they had on the 16th of August, and asking for a breakdown of the reasons for the callouts, and the times of them.  I'd suspect that even a busy street like Regent Street doesn't have that many ambulance callouts a day.

We're then told that 3 days earlier than the date of the article (8 September 2012) her mother was once again knocked down by a cyclist, this time on a North London street.  This would put the collision as occouring on the 5th of September.  She states that her mother nearly lost the sight in her left eye, and that her broken arm sustained such serious damage that she may have to undergo a lengthy operation on it.  I have to assume that this again means that she would have had to go to hospital, so there should be some record of this admission, although as in the first incident, I don't think that there is enough data to pick it up in the stats.

She also goes on to claim in both articles that "If my mother had been hit twice by a car in a similar space of time, the general reaction would have been one of horror and outrage".  Sadly I think that she's wrong.  The Killed and Seriously Injured stats for those hit by cars are horrific, and still they are reported as actions taken by cars, rather than drivers, and are punished in a very light way.  Currently you are more likely to be sent to prison for damaging a car (a charge of criminal damge, which carries a potential jail term of 6 months if the damage is under £5000 in value, or up to 10 years is the damage is over £5000), compared to the charges for killing or injuring a cyclist or pedestrian in your car (a likely charge of causing death by either careless [a punishment of Up to 5 years in prison, and disqualified for a minimum of one year] or dangerous driving [a punishment of 1 to 14 years in prison, and disqualified for a minimum of two years]).  As far as I know, conviction rates on criminal damage charges are much higher than those for causing death by careless or dangerous driving.

I might just throw in those FoI requests, and see what comes back...