Horrific details of the incident which took place just outside Grays on Saturday (31 October) morning were recounted to Basildon magistrates today (Monday, 2 November) when an emotional Abiola Akilla, 45, of Godman Road, Chadwell St Mary, appeared on a video link charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, driving without insurance and driving otherwise in accordance with a licence.
Akilla, who was arrested at her home after Saturday’s incident that led to the officer being airlifted to hospital with serious injuries, had spent two nights in a cell at Grays Police station, but she has now been released on conditional bail pending her trial at Basildon Crown Court on Monday, 30 November.
Prosecutor Lesley Chipps told the court how Saturday’s incident, at around 8am, unfolded on the A1013.
The police officer, whose name has not yet been released by Essex Police, was manning a speed check on Stanford Road close to the turning for Gammonfields Way when a car driven by Akilla, who Mrs Chipps stressed was a British citizen and a nurse, approached her position by the side of the road.
Mrs Chipps said: “The road is subject to a 40mph speed restriction. The officer was in full uniform and was approached by the car doing 51mph. The officer indicated to the driver to pull into the side of the road. As the car stopped the officer noticed the female driver had a small child in the car.
“The officer approached the driver and asked if she had a licence and was insured. The driver said she was, but the car was not in her name.
“At that point it seemed as if there was nothing untoward but the driver did tell the officer that she was in a rush. The officer said dealing with the incident might take some time and asked her if she had any speeding convictions or had attended a safe driving course. The driver said no.
“The officer had placed the speed camera on the top of the car and moved to the front of the vehicle. At that point the lady reversed the vehicle back and the officer tried to grab the equipment on top of the vehicle to stop it falling.
“Then the driver moved forward, knocking the officer to the floor and she then accelerated away, with both tyres going over the officer’s body, narrowly missing driving over her head.
“The officer screamed, she was in intense pain lying in the road as the driver drove away.
“She was conscious but in intense pain. She was unable to activate her radio but a member of the public had stopped and came over and was able to press the button contacting the control room.
“They were able to raise to alert and the emergency services were quickly in attendance.”
An air ambulance was among the emergency services and, after she received treatment at the scene, the officer was airlifted to hospital.
Mrs Chipps continued: “As we speak the officer is still in hospital and her injuries include five broken ribs, some of which have been shattered, and she had has leg and arm injuries and cuts and bruises very near to her head.
“The lady driver, who says she is a Christian and had never been in trouble before but was going through an emotional divorce, just drove off after she deliberately ran over the officer and continued on her journey. She made no calls to the emergency services and had no concern for the safety of the officer. She left her injured and in who knows what condition.
“She has shown no remorse. She just did not want to be there, not did she come forward at a later date.
“She did nothing. She left the scene with no idea of how severe the officer’s injuries were. It is just fortunate a member of the public was there to summon help.”
Mrs Chipps then went on to describe what happened when officer attended the home of the accused later that day.
“When police arrived she told officers that she had sold the car. It was not hers. She was in the process of conducting a home viewing of her property and did not seem concerned,” she said.
At the home, a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice but he will face no further police action.
Mrs Chipps continued: “Because of her response and attitude and despite the fact that she has no previous convictions, because of the nature and gravity of this offence we oppose bail.”
However, Akilla’s solicitor told magistrates that it was vital that she be able to return home to look after her family of three children, two of whom are of school age. “She is horrified about what has happened but she is a single parent of three children and being in custody will be detrimental to their care,” he said.
“She has not obstructed the investigation and she has never been in trouble. And as a nurse, given the weekend’s announcement about coronavirus, she will be needed in even more. It is not accepted that evidence in this case is overwhelming and bearing in mind her good character and her occupation as a nurse she should be given bail.”
In tears, Akilla – who describes herself on social media as working for the NHS and Macmillan Cancer care as “an oncology nurse for over 15 years and in the past few years being a clinical nurse adviser to oncology patients receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy” – then interjected, saying: “I look after cancer patients, they really need me.”
After considering the matter, and saying “You are charged with very, very serious offences” magistrates elected to give her bail, on condition that she resides at her home in Chadwell St Mary and must report twice a week to Grays police station until her trial at Crown Court.