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Woman killed after 'playing' in traffic

PUBLISHED: 17:25 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 August 2010

A DRUNK woman who was run over by a prison van driver while dancing in the road, enjoyed playing in front of heavy traffic, a court heard.

A DRUNK woman who was run over by a prison van driver while dancing in the road, 'enjoyed' playing in front of heavy traffic, a court heard.

Naomi Benjamin, 34, was knocked down and killed by Andrew Curtis, 49, of The Ridge, Orpington, in a 'moment of madness' it is claimed.

Jurors heard she had been dancing in the middle of one of London's busiest junctions just before her death on April 22 last year.

Eyewitness Shai Tomochesky told the Old Bailey that the victim regularly 'played' in front of heavy traffic in the centre of Brixton in the south of the capital. She said: "I've seen her play with the traffic before. She has done it a couple of times before in the same area, in the same junction.

"She just managed to get away, she's been lucky she's not been hit before."

On the day of the tragedy, Ms Tomochesky was walking through Brixton when she spotted Miss Benjamin in the middle of the road, beckoning traffic towards her.

She told the court: "She was enjoying being on the main road, looking at the traffic, urging that traffic to come towards her. The security van was aware that she was on the road, and was aware that she was urging her to come towards her. He was driving very slowly.

"The young lady wasn't having no intentions to move out of the vehicle's way. She mounted the front of the security van with her two hands. She actually put her hands onto the ridge at the front of the van, the edging of the glass and the bit where the wipers are. The window wipers couldn't hold her weight, and they bent down, and then the lady started to panic and realised she was going to come away from the front of the security van."

Curtis, who had worked for Serco for six years, as transporting prisoners from a court in Westminster to Brixton Prison during rush hour.

Ms Benjamin died after her head came into contact with the rear wheel and twisted around until her neck broke.

She was still alive when the first paramedic arrived but died before being removed from under the vehicle.

Curtis, who denies murder and manslaughter, told a police officer that he thought the woman had moved away after pulling his windscreen wiper.

The trial continues.

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