Family of cyclist killed in crash slam ‘shambles’ of police probe into his death
- Credit: Archant
The family of a popular athlete who was killed in a crash more than two years ago said it was “beyond belief” the driver of the vehicle that struck the 44-year-old was not prosecuted despite being more than two times the legal alcohol limit.
Sze-Ming Cheung, was cycling on Reepham Road, Swannington, near Reepham, as part of training for an iron man race in Italy on a bike he had built when he was involved in a fatal crash with a grey Nissan Navara on June 7, 2018.
An inquest held at Norwich Coroner’s Court on Wednesday (July 29) heard Mr Cheung’s bike was struck by the Nissan Navara, driven by Alan Hall, who had swerved to avoid a van that had overtaken the cyclist.
The inquest heard that Mr Hall was breath-tested and found to be under the influence of alcohol and subsequently arrested for drink driving and causing death by dangerous driving.
But despite being found to be more than twice the legal limit for driving, Mr Hall was never charged with an offence nor had any action taken against him.
The driver of the other vehicle involved was also spoken to, but no action was taken against him either.
Following yesterday’s inquest, which concluded that Mr Cheung died as a result of a road traffic collision, his family, including brothers Jack and Dick and mother Wai-Hing, who attended the hearing, issued a statement criticising the police investigation.
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It said: “We are all very angry, disgusted and disappointed with the inquest’s final verdict of Sze-Ming’s death two years on. The injustice of the outcome is still very raw and difficult to comprehend and always will be as we have to live with it.
“How the driver cannot be punished for drink driving when he was clearly over the limit is beyond belief?”
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The family, who run the Chung Hing Chinese restaurant in Hellesdon, described the whole case as being a “shambles” and said Norfolk Constabulary “handled it very poorly”.
It added: “It’s not given us any closure at all and is very distressing every second of every minute of every hour of the day.
“We will fight our way through our own lives everyday with hurtful emotions and it (the investigation) will always be open to us. Sze-Ming will never be forgotten and the pain and heartache will never go away for the rest of our lives”.
In a statement issued after yesterday’s inquest, a Norfolk Police spokesman said: “This is a tragic case in which a man lost his life and our thoughts remain with Mr Cheung’s family and friends at what we know continues to be a difficult time.
“We acknowledge that elements of this investigation fell below the standards expected and the failure to prosecute a drink driver involved in the crash was unacceptable.
“We take a firm stance on drink drive offences which is why it is all the more disappointing for an opportunity of justice to be missed.
“We have met with Mr Cheung’s family to explain this and offer our apologies. The officers involved have been given management advice.
“We understand this offers limited comfort to the family of Mr Cheung in their pursuit for justice. However, while no action has been taken against people interviewed in this case, it remains open and should further information come to light, we would review this and respond accordingly.”
Yesterday’s inquest heard from PC Paul Mackay, a collision investigator with Norfolk Police, who said the “poor decision” of the driver of the van who overtook the cyclist and veered towards Mr Hall acted as a “catalyst” for the events that followed.
PC Mackay said Mr Hall in his “intoxicated” state was less able to deal with a rapidly changing situation.
Mr Hall attended the inquest but answered “no comment” to all questions asked by the coroner, who he told he was declining to answer on the grounds of self-incrimination.
A statement he made to police after he was interviewed by officers the day after the crash was however read out during the inquest and described still feeling “in shock” and how he felt sorry for the family adding “if I could change it I would”.
Mr Cheung, of Drayton Wood Road, Hellesdon, ran the chip shop next to the family Chinese which was renamed Caseys in honour of his father Kam who died in 2002.