A DORSET Police Special Constable involved in a fatal road crash was on her mobile phone at the time, an inquest was told.

Collette Carpenter was involved in a conversation with her partner when her Peugeot 206 collided with motorcyclist David Bartholomew, of Bere Regis, district coroner Sheriff Payne was told.

The Bournemouth inquest was told that Miss Carpenter, formerly of Colehill, initially denied using her phone during the journey when interviewed by police.

She later told officers she had briefly taken an incoming call before eventually admitting she had been in conversation for the entire journey with the mobile phone on loud speaker on her lap, the coroner was told.

The inquest heard details of the case were submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service which made a decision not to prosecute Miss Carpenter following the collision, which took place on the A31 Ferndown bypass on March 20 last year.

The inquest also heard Miss Carpenter had dished out six fixed penalties to drivers for using mobile phones during her time as a Special Constable.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Payne described her account of the incoming call as “total rubbish” and added: “She came up with misleading accounts of what happened.”

Miss Carpenter told him: “In the time of the first interview I just panicked and said what I said which I know is not the truth. I don’t know why I didn’t say about the phone. I was in shock, maybe I didn’t think it was relevant at the time. I was not distracted.”

But accident investigator PC John Hayward said: “The use of her mobile phone can only have been a distraction and has very likely contributed to her not seeing the motorcyclist.”

Mr Bartholomew was overtaking a number of vehicles and Miss Carpenter was emerging from the Uddens Drive junction on the A31 at 7.15am when the collision took place. She said she did not see 54-year-old Mr Bartholomew until the collision.

The inquest heard Mr Bartholomew, a father-of-two from Bere Regis, died of a severe brain injury and multiple traumatic fractures due to a motorcycle collision.

His partner, Lindsey Witcombe, said: “He was a highly intelligent and talented man. He had two children, James and Charlotte, and the death of their father has been devastating.”

‘We are all disappointed’

DAVID Bartholomew’s partner and children described their disappointment with the verdict.

Lindsey Witcombe, his partner of 12 years, said: “She was on a mobile phone and is a Special Constable who has issued tickets for that.

“He wasn’t speeding – he wasn’t doing anything. I was hoping for justice for him.”

David’s daughter, Charlotte, added: “We are all disappointed and feel very let down. She is someone who should have known better and I feel that she has taken no responsibility for what has happened.”

His son, James, added: “She has admitted to changing her story and has shown disrespect to us.”