Thanks to Essex Police, and PC Aaron Cattell in particular, who identified the driver of a vehicle which had been involved in an incident with one of our Naval veterans, Help for Heroes Ambassador Lee Patmore in his hometown of Basildon last month.
Wheelchair user Lee was training for a fundraising cycle race on his handbike when he was shocked as a liquid was thrown at him from a passing car.
At the time of the incident, 43-year-old Lee, who had a medical discharge following a back injury, was concerned that he had been attacked with a liquid other than water. His first thoughts were that he could have been doused in urine, petrol or acid. He added, “With the gangs around town, police having petrol thrown at them, hearing about acid attacks, it is unfortunate that these things are considered as a first thought in these incidents.”
The shocking story was covered in the national press at the time, and Essex Police investigated.
PC Aaron Cattell identified the 17-year-old driver of the vehicle who has now apologised formally to Lee.
He said: “I am writing to apologise for the behaviour of myself and my friends. I was the driver of the car on the day and can see the action from my car was wrong and this must have felt hurtful and intimidating, no one should ever be treated in this way.
I understand how you would have felt victimised however hope this does not affect you in using your bike in the future. I now realise how this could have deeply affected you and will ensure to think more about how my and other people’s actions affect others.
Apologies once more.”
Lee is satisfied that the driver has learnt from his mistake. He says, “I’m glad that there was an easy solution to this and very thankful that the police investigated this further and that this incident didn’t need to go further and have any longer effect on anyone’s future.”
The police’s proactive response means Lee is confident returning to road training on his handbike.
“I have to admit, this incident did keep me from cycling for about a week.” He goes on, “First night out, I was a bit paranoid about being on the road. The following night, I had spoken to the police and felt a lot better as they were able to assure me that it was just a bad judgement call from the guys in the car and that they were actually decent young adults that had never been in trouble before. Knowing this I was able to go out training and feel better about being on the road.”
Lee praised the police and said he’s had positive feedback from others in his community, “It’s of comfort to others that this sort of thing is taken seriously and that the police are doing a great job, even on such things as this, when there are worse things happening and to deal with in our local community.”
He's tried to be positive about the overall incident and says, “It has brought some attention to us adapted riders and what we face on the road in our pursuit of fitness and enjoyment, it shows that things are taken seriously by the police and in cases such is this, it’s a simple talk to help people see how something that may seem funny at the time, isn’t so funny when you’re on the receiving end and left wondering about the whole situation and in my case, what was actually thrown.”
Essex Police said, “We were called at around 6.20pm on Tuesday, May 14, with reports a cyclist had water thrown over him by a passing motorist in High Road North, Laindon.
“The victim was taking part in a charity ride and while he was not injured, the ordeal left him extremely shaken.
“Following an investigation, we identified the vehicle involved and we voluntarily interviewed a 17-year-old boy with his parents present.
“The matter has now been resolved, with support from the victim, in the form of an apology and our investigation has been finalised.”