Fury as Met Police give ‘slap on wrist’ for ‘unbelievably painful’ car collision

The Met Police has been described as a “shambles” after a brutal car collision was met with only a “slap on the wrist” for the guilty driver. Gary Offen, 36, together with his mother, suffered severe injuries as a result of the crash on December 9 2021, after a motorist smashed into his car at speed in a 20mph zone.

Mr Offen was reversing out onto Bishopford Road, Mitcham when driver Ben Dighton hit his car. CCTV footage caught the moment Mr Offen’s car was sent careening down the street.

He suffered a broken sternum, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, while his mother, sitting in the passenger seat, suffered several fractures to her spine. Gary was also later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Metropolitan Police charged Mr Dighton with driving with undue care and attention, for which he received five penalty points on his licence and a £293 fine - which Mr Offen dismissed as merely a “slap on the wrist” in return for the damage done.

He said: “The whole thing was a shambles.

“The driver nearly killed me and my mum but he got away with a slap on the wrist. The police suggested it was partly my fault as I was reversing onto the road but my lights were on and I was clearly visible. The driver just didn’t stop and didn’t even try to brake.”

Mr Offen, from Carshalton, Surrey, said the police had not been able to confirm the driver was speeding.

He said the crash had “devastated mine and my mum’s lives and we are lucky to have survived.”

He added: “Despite this the police didn’t even charge the driver with careless driving when it’s clear from the footage that he is going well over 20mph.

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“How can five points on his licence be justice for what he did to us? I feel like the police have let me down.”

Gary is now suing Mr Dighton through his insurer Haven Claims, with help from lawyers Osbornes Law. Haven Claims has admitted liability for the crash, and Mr Offen is hoping they will fund his treatment for PTSD.

Describing the horrific accident, Mr Offen said: “I just remember spinning around, the wind on my face and a crushing pain in my chest before passing out. I came to and I was in absolute agony, even breathing was unbelievably painful.

“I looked around and saw my mum and she wasn’t moving. I honestly thought she was dead.”

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He and his mother were cut out of the car by the fire brigade, before being taken to hospital. Despite his injuries, medics recommended that Gary go home after five days, out of concern that he may catch Covid in hospital.

The motorist said he struggled to look after himself for the following five weeks, and did not receive any care at home. He claimed the police did not even interview him about the crash during the investigation.

Laura Swaine, a specialist catastrophic injury solicitor at Osbornes Law, who represents Gary, said: “My client feels understandably aggrieved at the police and the punishment given to the motorist for a crash that left him and his mother with extensive and serious injuries.

“My client is in real need of treatment and I am pleased that the motorist’s insurers have finally admitted the motorist was at fault. I hope we can get this matter resolved so my client can get the treatment he needs and can move on with his life.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the Met Police for comment.

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