11th August 2000
Heddlu Gwent Police,
Dear Inspector Flynn,
Thank you for your letter of the 7th August and as this matter is now nearing a conclusion I would like to thank you and your officers for their assistance.
Unfortunately, although I took the advice of Sergeant Kelland and wrote to Gwent Magistrates' Court on the 8th June asking what speed I am actually being prosecuted for neither they nor the C.P.S. have ever bothered to reply to my letters. I have had to proceed assuming the worst and prepare my defence accordingly. I know that the video will have recorded important information that I require for this and I can assure you that I would not have wasted your time were this not to be the case.
I would also like to take this opportunity to put the record straight as there are two important aspects to my driving experience that are not recorded but which help to explain what happened on that Sunday in April:
I have had extensive tuition from an Advanced Driving instructor with whom I spent about a year commuting daily from Swansea to Bristol. Although the two officers in the car thought that I was bluffing when I said "I could see that you were in a hurry and I was trying to get out of your way" - I wasn't. I was understandably not at my best in the patrol car and it did not occur to me to argue the point. It was not until much later that I realised that very few drivers would have been aware of the unmarked patrol car bearing down on them.
The only other time I have ever been asked to attend a Magistrates' Court was as a witness by South Wales Police who successfully prosecuted a motorist for dangerous driving after he had crashed into the back of my car at the Pyle junction of the M4 near Bridgend. That experience has left me understandably nervous of vehicles bearing down on me at high speeds.
I would like to make it very clear that I am not suggesting that P.C. Herdman was driving dangerously but I had no way of knowing that the car was being driven by a highly skilled driver. At the Caldra I noted the number of the patrol car by using my rear view mirror but I could not see inside the vehicle due to the bright sunlight reflecting off the windscreen. I also did the only thing that I now regret and that was to draw the attention of my passenger to the presence of the patrol car as she is not used to me sounding anxious whilst driving.
The only thing that I remained confused about, until I received P.C. Herman's statement, was why after I had initially accelerated to restore a safe distance between our two vehicles he did not accept my clear invitation to over take. I now believe that your procedures state that the patrol car has to follow the vehicle that is 'speeding' for a mile at over 90mph. It is my opinion that you should review this procedure particularly for unmarked patrol cars. I know that the patrol car was more than capable of overtaking me.
Although I have found this whole episode quite stressful I have learned a lot from the experience and at least I will be able to offer a better defence than just saying that I was late for a meeting with the Prime Minister!