Jump to content

Drink Drive Death Case Ex-Policeman Sentenced in Dordogne


Dog
 Share

Recommended Posts

The person whose party it was is a thoughtful contributor to this Forum and there are threads on this Forum about it (I won't post the links).

I feel dreadfully sorry for everyone involved.  I lost a 15-year-old friend when I was 16 to drink driving.  Her driver had a paltry fine - he 'got away' with careless driving rather than dangerous driving, claiming that he swerved to avoid a fox on a motorway.  I often wonder if he thinks of my friend as often as I do.

EDIT: John - I've sent you a PM.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Cathy"]The person whose party it was is a thoughtful contributor to this Forum and there are threads on this Forum about it (I won't post the links).

I feel dreadfully sorry for everyone involved.

[/quote]

Thanks Cathy - I was just about to post the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A surprising outcome it has to be said.

I'm must admit though that I'm rather surprised at the relatively low blood alcohol reading, 1.01 is not so dramatically over the UK limit of 0.8 and would seem broadly consistent with the claimed consumption, 5 glasses of wine, but for an adult, and a highly trained ex professional driver, I would not have expected this alone to have resulted in such a catastrophic loss of driving ability.

Was there any evidence to support the claim that a vehicle fault contributed to the loss of control I wonder.

I'm not seeking to defend the driver, just better understand how such a terrible tragedy took place.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="AnOther"]I'm rather surprised at the relatively low blood alcohol reading, 1.01 is not so dramatically over the UK limit of 0.8 [/quote]

It is not low by any stretch, it is twice over the French legal limit (0,5 g/l of blood or 0,25 mg/l of air).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="AnOther"]

, but for an adult, and a highly trained ex professional driver, 

[/quote]

Highly trained ? .................."The two girls were in the boot without seatbelts as Mr Bridge crammed seven passengers into his Jeep Grand Cherokee to return from what the court heard was a well-oiled dinner with a friend. "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never have, and never would, drink and ride (I respect my motorcycle far too much for that - let alone my feelings about harming other living souls).  I thank the good stars that watch me that this has been and is my choice.  I am very grateful that I have not had to learn this the hard way and my heart goes out to those who have.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="AnOther"]

I'm must admit though that I'm rather surprised at the relatively low blood alcohol reading, 1.01 is not so dramatically over the UK limit of 0.8 and would seem broadly consistent with the claimed consumption,

Was there any evidence to support the claim that a vehicle fault contributed to the loss of control I wonder. [/quote]

One of the problems with the reporting of this case is that - of necessity - it has ommitted a great deal of detail and there are a good number of factors that were never introduced in evidence in France tho some did feature in the UK Inquest.  The French case was a 'done deal' from the first moments of the investigation and searching or appropriate questions were never asked because of the driver's evident culpability.

Ernie, the blood tests were taken several hours after the accident by which time the French Court and UK Inquest accepted the blood alcohol level would have reduced, at the Inquest it was accepted that the count back method would have shown a higher reading.  In addition, there was a good deal of evidence which the UK Coroner was aware of, of the steps that the driver took in his home to reduce the reading prior to the Gendarmes arriving.  Interestingly, it was only during his final summation that the defending Maitre try to query the validity of the blood test which the Judges cave pretty short shrift.

There were 3 experts examinations and reports carried out on the vehicle in France, the second and third at the request of the driver.  They could fine no evidence of the fault in the vehicle and it was given at the Trial and Inquest that the fault the driver had alleged (a) did not ever effect this model of Jeep (b) that the previously reported fault had been designed out some 5 years before this vehicle was manufactured (c) that there had never been a report of this type of fault previously and (d) that the previously reported, designed out fault had only effected vehicles when they were being started and put into drive. 

His claims were dismissed by the Court and the Coroner in the UK after Police evidence (one of the driver's previous colleagues in the UK) totally rubbished his claims and told the Inquest there was no reason for his conduct other than the fact that the driver was over the drink/drive limit.

Hope this clarifies things for you Ernie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tony, yes it does thank you, I guessed there was more to it.

Unfortunately the gentleman would appear be of a particularly vile and selfish disposition if, both drunk and in the face of such carange, he still mustered the presence of mind to try and obfuscate the evidence of his condition and later persist in blaming the vehicle.

FWIW I had composed a lengthy response to krusty and Clair but after your post I think I'll let things rest as they are, I'm sure you are keen to put the whole tragic episode behind you.

All the best

Ernie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Tony F Dordogne"][quote user="AnOther"]

I'm must admit though that I'm rather surprised at the relatively low blood alcohol reading, 1.01 is not so dramatically over the UK limit of 0.8 and would seem broadly consistent with the claimed consumption,

Was there any evidence to support the claim that a vehicle fault contributed to the loss of control I wonder. [/quote]

One of the problems with the reporting of this case is that - of necessity - it has ommitted a great deal of detail and there are a good number of factors that were never introduced in evidence in France tho some did feature in the UK Inquest.  The French case was a 'done deal' from the first moments of the investigation and searching or appropriate questions were never asked because of the driver's evident culpability.

Ernie, the blood tests were taken several hours after the accident by which time the French Court and UK Inquest accepted the blood alcohol level would have reduced, at the Inquest it was accepted that the count back method would have shown a higher reading.  In addition, there was a good deal of evidence which the UK Coroner was aware of, of the steps that the driver took in his home to reduce the reading prior to the Gendarmes arriving.  Interestingly, it was only during his final summation that the defending Maitre try to query the validity of the blood test which the Judges cave pretty short shrift.

There were 3 experts examinations and reports carried out on the vehicle in France, the second and third at the request of the driver.  They could fine no evidence of the fault in the vehicle and it was given at the Trial and Inquest that the fault the driver had alleged (a) did not ever effect this model of Jeep (b) that the previously reported fault had been designed out some 5 years before this vehicle was manufactured (c) that there had never been a report of this type of fault previously and (d) that the previously reported, designed out fault had only effected vehicles when they were being started and put into drive. 

His claims were dismissed by the Court and the Coroner in the UK after Police evidence (one of the driver's previous colleagues in the UK) totally rubbished his claims and told the Inquest there was no reason for his conduct other than the fact that the driver was over the drink/drive limit.

Hope this clarifies things for you Ernie.

[/quote]

 

As you appear to ""be in the know": how did he take steps to reduce the reading. Normally in these types of cases the offender consumes alcohol after the event"" to calm the nerves""

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Boiling a frog"] [As you appear to ""be in the know": how did he take steps to reduce the reading. Normally in these types of cases the offender consumes alcohol after the event"" to calm the nerves""  [/quote]

I'm "in the know" because my wife and a couple of neighbours cleared up the house whilst the accident was being dealt with and then for the following week.  What he did doesn't matter now but suffice to say it didn't work too well and it wasn't having another drink.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Tony, whatever he did or whoever he knows it certainly worked as regards his laughable "punishment". Though I admit that I know nothing of the events beyond what I have read on here and the other place.

I do not subscribe to the "he will have to live with what he has done for the rest of his life" or "whatever we do will not bring them back" views perhaps more normally a member of the "hang em, flog 'em" brigade so a custodial sentence for an ex-policeman might have sent a better message.

So much for France being like Britain 50 years ago.

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, your incredulity is shared by many people here.  What sort of message does that give to others who may be foolish enough to do something similar?  The fine is risible, so for loading 8 people into your car and having two (now deceased) children in the boot of your car warrants only a €200 fine.  What didn't come out in the trial but did in the Inquest was that the car was being use 'en ensemble' in this manner for the week previously tho usually with three children in the boot so perhaps the injuries were reduced by ONLY having two in the boot.

I have been with the families of those killed who have been ignored, viz. the families who do not subscribe to the driver's supporters club (his wife's family and the wife of the man killed in the accident and that really IS a bizarre situation) who lost brothers, a son and grandchildren in this accident, who have never received even an apology from the driver and who are seething over the punishment.

And the natural father of the driver's step-daughter has heard nothing from the driver, nor has his other step-son tho during the trial the step-son did receive a box of jewellery from the driver, a total jumble, no note as to whether it was his mother's or sister's, nothing and he is as devastated as he can be.

The driver has let it be known that he is angry that he has lost his good name in his local area in the UK.  I make no comment! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Cathy"]Does the driver still live in France?  [/quote]

No Cathy, again he has been able to manipulate the system.  He finally sold his home the day before the original trial.  We bumped into him some weeks ago - before the UK Inquest - and he told us he would be selling before the trial so he would have no assets in France.

Therefore, even when the civil cases are heard next April, he will not have any money in France that can be used to pay compensation to the others involved.  Interestingly, the woman whose husband and daughter were killed and his wife's family are not making a claim against him, tho the other families involved are as are his insurance company and CPAM - but guess what, he'll get away with this too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the speed is about as believable as the rest of the evidence.

Alchol fuelled bravado is what the evidence would suggest, regards professional driving etc. a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.....

Bit like a plain lady who has a few glasses and suddenly is a glamour model or  the filing clerk who becomes Clark Kent.

I am saddened that the court didn't seem to take account of all the circumstances or the ateempts to evade justice (Ongoing)

It's a pity the French Courts cant take the view that the assets in place 'At the time of the incident' are fair game and assist / issue civil proceedings in an English Court....There would be legal precedent there I guess.......

I take it he tried Purging, hyper ventilating or even blood letting didn't try hard enough if he did.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't want to pass comment until I had read everything.

It is clear to me by what I have read that this man shows no remorse or compassion what so ever towards those that he has killed and their families. It also seems clear to me by the actions he has taken that he has no conscience and only thinks of himself, truly a very selfish person. So to say he will have to live with it for the rest of his life is meaningless because he clearly doesn't give a toss. I think the penalties given by the French courts is ludicrous and woefully inadequate for the offence be him an ex policeman or not.

I don't think that those he visited should in anyway feel guilty (very easy to say I know but its true), at the end of the day he decided to drive and nobody forced him to do so. My thoughts go out to all those involved in this tragedy.

Its a terrible thing to say or wish on somebody but I do believe in the old saying that 'what goes around comes around' and that one way or another he will, one day, get his just comeuppance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad to say that when this kind of thing happens, everyone feels a duty to prevent the driver taking the risk; if he is so drunk and overbearing to insist, then to prevent his passengers travelling with him. After the event, if he can live with himself, perhaps he will find that family or friends cannot, these things cannot be fixed and do not disappear.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I don't think that those he visited should in anyway feel guilty (very easy to say I know but its true), at the end of the day he decided to drive and nobody forced him to do so. My thoughts go out to all those involved in this tragedy."

Especially as a Somerset Newspaper site tells me that Tony was trying to get the group to take his torches and walk the short distance.

Even so, Tony comes across as a caring person and I expect he does wish that he had done more to stop Bridges from driving. I realise that it is sometimes wrong to make assumptions based on appearance, but, Keith Bridges does not look like the sort of man that I would take on in an argument / fight, so I don't expect there was anything Tony could have done. My sympathies go out to "most" of the people affected by this tragedy - infact, to everyone bar Bridges.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...