Police cleared of wrongdoing after cyclist killed by burglar during car chase

The 75-year-old rider was killed after the offender reversed into him during a high-speed pursuit

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The police watchdog has cleared officers of wrongdoing after a cyclist was killed by a burglar involved in a high-speed chase.

Rider Arthur Bourlet was hit by driver Gary Lynch, was attempting to flee police during the pursuit in Northamptonshire in April.

Lynch was involved in an 80mph police chase in a stolen Mitsubishi Shogun SUV, when he reversed into the 75-year-old cyclist, leaving him with fatal injuries.

Officers had tried to block Lynch’s vehicle using a box manoeuvre, which was unsuccessful, and as Lynch reversed away from the police cars he struck Mr Bourlet, who had just dismounted from his bike.

The incident was passed to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for investigation because of the police involvement in the chase.

A statement from the IOPC said: “Based on the evidence available we found no indication that any person serving with the police may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings, or had committed a criminal offence.

“We noted that officers had been conscientious in providing the cyclist with medical care while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Footage showed that they spoke with the man to ensure he remained conscious, obtained information from him on his identity, address and next of kin, and provided medical care.”

On April 11, 2019, Northamptonshire Police set off in pursuit of the stolen car after it was picked up by automatic number plate recognition cameras in the area.

A number of police vehicles set off in pursuit of the SUV, driven by Gary Lynch, who damaged property and deliberately drove into police vehicles.

Officers attempted a box manoeuvre to trap Lynch, but the move was unsuccessful.

Lynch then reversed away from police and hit Mr Bourlet, who was given immediate medical care after the crash until ambulance crews arrived.

Mr Bourlet, from Burton Latimer in Northamptonshire, was taken to hospital but he died on May 3.

The IOPC launched an investigation following Mr Bourlet’s death, attending the scene to carry out an examination, taking statement from officers involved and reviewing dashcam footage and body-warn camera video.

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Investigators rules that the pursuit was authorised and justified, and that officers could not have foreseen Mr Bourlet’s presence.

Lynch, 55, of no fixed abode, was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving and burglary and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the first offence and 18 months for burglary, to run consecutively.

He was banned from driving for 10 years.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.