A famous TV producer known for his work on a number of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programmes has been cleared of deliberately causing a car crash.
In a case described as “unique and bizarre” by his celebrity lawyer, 54-year-old Paul Crompton was accused of deliberately causing a car to crash into the back of his bike.
Paul Crompton was accused of suddenly braking in front of a Ford Focus Estate during an alleged road rage incident on Ladywell Road in Lewisham on October 24, 2020.
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Prosecutors claimed cyclist Paul had “hurled abuse” at driver Derek Pipe, 74, and deliberately blocked his path after their vehicles came into close proximity on the narrow residential road.
However, magistrates at Bexley Magistrates’ Court acquitted him of one count of riding “without due care and attention” after a summary trial on January 6.
Paul has produced award-winning shows including Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau, Love Your Garden and Changing Rooms
TV boss Paul said he had tried to warn the driver of his presence, but Derek Pipe had failed to notice him on the road.
His lawyer, Nick Freeman, who has successfully defended David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson against alleged motoring offences, said cyclist Paul would now be pursuing civil proceedings.
Giving evidence, Derek claimed Paul clipped his wing mirror as he “raced” up the hill, cycling past him and shouting swear words from in front of his vehicle.
(Image: Daily Mirror)
“The cyclist came up the outside of me and then put his bike across the front of my car towards the windscreen and started hurling abuse, shouting, going off in a very intimidating, aggressive manner,” he said.
The motorist, who has no points on his licence and has been driving for decades, said he had then started moving again at under five miles per hour behind the cyclist before Paul twice came to a halt.
“I was just proceeding safely behind him then all of a sudden he stopped again a second time,” he told the court.
“The distance we both travelled was so short it was impossible for me to hit the brake in time.”
But the cyclist said it was the driver who had put him in danger by forcing him into a tight spot in between the Ford Focus and a row of parked cars.
(Image: Google Maps)
He told the court he had knocked once on Derek’s window to alert the driver that he was at risk of becoming “sandwiched in”, but the driver seemed unaware.
The collision caused Paul to suffer soft tissue damage as well as leaving a “terrible V” dent in the back wheel of his bike, the court heard.
“I wanted to warn him that he’d done a dangerous manoeuvre and I would hope that 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 loudly.”
The married father-of-two said he then cycled up in front of the car without stopping before being “catapulted” forward across the handlebars when the motorist crashed into his rear wheel.
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Paul, from Lewisham, described the allegations against him as “insane”, adding: “He (Derek) had no idea I was there.”
He added that he only became angry after the collision, at which point Derek also appeared to be “in a rage”, according to the cyclist.
Prosecutor Norleen Ibe said the driver had given “credible and consistent” evidence, but Mr Freeman said the account had been “littered with confusion”.
The defence solicitor said the allegation that the cyclist had intended to cause the crash was “ludicrous”, leading to “this rather unique and bizarre situation Paul finds himself in accused of riding without due care and attention”.
Chair of the bench Christina Pride said: “We’ve heard two differing accounts of the incident.”
“The prosecution has not proven the case so that we are sure beyond reasonable doubt. We, therefore, find Paul not guilty,” she added.
Speaking outside court after he was cleared, Paul told the PA news agency he was “utterly, utterly relieved”.
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