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Man cleared of police officer death crash

PUBLISHED: 16:02 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:39 12 August 2010

A 38-YEAR-OLD man accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist while unlicensed has been acquitted. Brian Warner, of Andace Park Gardens, Bromley,

A 38-YEAR-OLD man accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist while unlicensed has been acquitted.

Brian Warner, of Andace Park Gardens, Bromley, was cleared last Wednesday after a three-day trial at Croydon Crown Court.

He was charged after off-duty policeman George Small died when he lost control of his bike at Bromley Common's junction with Homesdale Road on January 21 this year.

Married father-of-one Mr Small went through the traffic lights as they were turning from amber to red and tried to avoid a collision with Mr Warner's Audi which was turning right.

But the 29-year-old, who was on his way home to Surrey from a shift at Catford Traffic Garage, lost control and crashed. Despite the efforts of the ambulance service he died at the scene.

The issue was over whether Mr Warner had been banned at the time of incident as he was unable to produce a licence. He was given a ban previously but said he had applied for a 25 per cent reduction in its length of time.

He applied to the DVLA at Swansea for the return of his licence, as from December 27, a few weeks before the accident. He had sent a cheque and the Drive Wise certificate.

Prosecutor Hamish Reid told the jury that Warner did not face any accusation of dangerous or careless driving. The issue was solely whether he was licensed to drive.

The jury took about half an hour to reach their not guilty verdict.

At the time of his death his colleagues paid tribute to Mr Small. Chief Superintendent David Snelling, Head of the Met's traffic unit, said: "I am deeply saddened by the news of George's death. It is a devastating shock to many of us, not least those colleagues who first attended the collision.

"He will be greatly missed by many friends and colleagues at Catford. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Mr Small leaves behind his wife Polly and their son Franky who was just 17-months-old at the time of his death.

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