Police have failed us'

PUBLISHED: 13:01 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

Luke Chapman

Luke Chapman

THE family of a 16-year-old boy who died when his moped ran into the back of a stationary lorry feel the police have failed them. Luke Chapman, from Avocet, Letchworth GC, died in March last year after his Aprilla 50 bike ran into the back of an unlit l

THE family of a 16-year-old boy who died when his moped ran into the back of a stationary lorry feel the police have "failed" them.

Luke Chapman, from Avocet, Letchworth GC, died in March last year after his Aprilla 50 bike ran into the back of an unlit lorry parked in Icknield Way.

Speaking after a coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death this week, Luke's mother Susan criticised police for not prosecuting the driver who had parked the lorry without illuminating it.

Mrs Chapman said: "Everybody was putting it towards Luke's side and not towards the person who parked the vehicle.

"I think they should have been just as eager to investigate the vehicle as they were Luke's bike.

"There's lots of things they didn't come up with and I think they did fail us in some ways."

The family is also considering taking legal action against the company which owns the lorry.

The inquest into Luke's death heard that the teenager, who worked at Del Basso in Bucklersbury, Hitchin, was a competent motorcyclist whose hobby was to take part in motocross events.

Police vehicle examiner Andrew Rivers reported that Luke's moped was in a "serviceable condition", although the brake pad lining was "worn significantly", but would still have worked, and the rear tyre had a worn tread and a nail in the centre.

Coroner Edward Thomas said these faults "did not have a bearing on causing the tragedy".

On the night of the incident, Luke had been with his friend Darren Graves, who told the inquest that Luke always wore a helmet.

Mr Graves had been riding in front of Luke in Icknield Way when he noticed that Luke's headlight had disappeared.

He said: "I first thought something like he might be talking to a mate on the side of the road or maybe just messing about."

Mr Graves then went back to see what had happened, and called an ambulance.

Pc Steve Adams from the road policing unit in Hitchin told the inquest that the driver of the lorry, which had been parked on the street in Icknield Way after being involved in an earlier incident while being driven by another man, had not put the lights on because he believed it was in a well lit area.

Another officer, Pc Ian Marsh, said that using CCTV of the area, they could estimate that Mr Graves had been travelling at between 40 and 50 miles an hour, but they could not "put a conclusive speed on Luke".

The Chapman family's solicitor, Sefton Kwasnik, asked Pc Marsh if there had been room for the lorry to have parked elsewhere on the road.

Pc Marsh responded: "Anywhere along there you can find somewhere to park."

The officer confirmed that police had not tested lighting on the lorry to see if it worked.

Mr Kwasnik told the inquest that the lorry had parked near a bus stop and less than 10 metres away from the junction of the Orbital Centre.

In recording his verdict, Mr Thomas said: "I have no evidence to suggest anything other than that Luke was riding along and for some reason did not see the lorry.

"The loss has doubtless affected many, many people. He was a person who a lot of people had a lot of time for."

A police spokesman, when told of the family's criticisms, said: "As a result of the inquest we will be reviewing the investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.

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