At around 5pm on Tuesday evening, on the King’s Road in Chelsea, a motorcyclist was trapped under the wheels of a BMW emerging from a side road. Judging by the almost complete absence of media coverage of the incident – which saw the road closed for around two hours until 7pm last night – you’d think it was entirely minor and mundane. Just another tragic but everyday ‘RTA’ (road traffic accident).
A single, small article on the GetWestLondon website appears to have been the sum total of media attention, showing a distant image of a motorbike on its side, a solitary stationary police motorcycle and some scattered police figures – an image taken from a tweet by the Met’s Chelsea Riverside Twitter account:
The reality, according to eyewitnesses – and smartphone footage that the SKWAWKBOX brings you exclusively – is rather different.
Celebrity and author Natalie Rowe was an eyewitness to the events and took video footage on the immediate aftermath. She told the SKWAWKBOX:
I saw the whole thing from start to finish. The guy went under this BMW that was coming out from a side road, he looked in a really bad way.
Within literally a couple of seconds, police motorcycles came flying down the road behind him – there was no way they were just passing, they’d been chasing these guys. I ran back up to grab my phone and by the time I got back down everything was kicking off. Police cars had materialised and officers were holding people back.
I got talking to one of the officers – not in a regular uniform, one of those jumpsuit types. I asked him what was going on, because there was no way this was some routine thing.
He told me they’d been chasing these two around for hours – but he denied they’d chased the bike into the crash. He said “We were chasing them but we lost them” – but how does that fit with those bikes being there so quickly?
I asked him why they weren’t talking to any witnesses – he said they were ‘securing the scene’, but surely you’d at least get witness details before everyone drifted off?
It was some kind of major operation – you can see how many police were there that quickly and there were cars still going round the streets hunting for one or more people. Yet there’s nothing about it in the media apart from that one photo that doesn’t give anything like the real picture.
How can that be? The press were all over the stabbings last week just down the road, but police are chasing someone all over the city and it’s like it never happened. There has to have been a pact between the police and the press to play it down.
The one message the Metropolitan Police did put out – the tweet mentioned above – gives no details except the location and is more a traffic warning than an incident report. But the footage shows something much more substantial than the meagre coverage implies.
The five-minute video gives a far clearer idea of the crowds, the sheer numbers of police and police vehicles – including the police bikes that appear to have been chasing the injured rider – and the intensive treatment he needed.
It also includes part of an ongoing police search for another person or persons involving at least one police vehicle, multiple officers and a police dog – and an apparently complete lack of interest on the part of police in taking names or statements from witnesses.
Watch and judge for yourself:
(All video rights reserved)
A two-hour road closure with significant numbers of police and vehicles, following a chase that had lasted for a substantial amount of time over a wide area – and barely a mention, with just one small article mentioning nothing more than a ‘collision’.
Did the media want – or agree with police – to keep the incident quiet or downplay its scale because the accident happened as a direct result of a police chase after two men had evaded capture over a long time and distance?
The SKWAWKBOX contacted the Met for comment. The Met press office confirmed that they had a record of an incident but was unable to confirm any further details on Tuesday night beyond what was contained in the tweet.
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