British Transport Police officer to be sentenced for dangerous driving
A British Transport Police officer who inflicted “life-changing injuries” on a singer-songwriter while dangerously driving a police van is due to be sentenced today.
David Lynch, 31, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of dangerous driving on August 28 after crashing into Joseph Belmonte after driving over a humpback bridge in Hackney, east London.
The incident happened on March 31 last year.
Lynch was responding to an emergency call and travelling at 68mph in a 30mph zone when he hit Mr Belmonte, known as Pepe to his friends and family, who was cycling ahead of him in the same direction.
Mr Belmonte, who was not wearing a helmet, was cycling to his girlfriend’s house in Newington Green, north London.
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Lynch and his passenger, Pc Gary Thomas, were on their way to an incident in the Old Street area of east London when the collision happened on Queensbridge Road in Hackney.
Mr Belmonte was in a medically induced coma for nine days after the collision and his family, including his sister Francesca Belmonte and girlfriend Jenny Lindfors, were told to expect the worst.
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The 31-year-old suffered spine, knee, brain and facial injuries as well as a broken right elbow and little finger, which resulted in him having to learn to play the guitar again.
He also suffered severe psychological effects and still endures “dark days”.
The head and associated brain injury mean that Mr Belmonte is likely to be left with permanent cognitive impairment.
Although his album, The Hermit’s Waltz, was released, he was unable to promote it and had to put his music career on hold.
Part of the album featured in the film The Living Hour.
Lynch, of Comfrey Road, Stotfold, had already pleaded guilty to careless driving but denied one charge of dangerous driving.
After a jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty of dangerous driving, he was warned by Judge Jeffrey Pegden to expect a custodial sentence.