A correspondent has pointed me to this story from last week –
Steven Berkoff was found guilty today of driving without due care and attention after knocking over a woman on Oxford Street.
The 76-year-old actor, playwright and director was fined £400 after hitting Fiona Scully with his Volkswagen Beetle as he pulled on to the wrong side of the road to overtake another car on New Year’s Eve. The star had insisted he was not responsible and blamed Miss Scully for the accident, allegedly telling her: “I didn’t touch you.”
But his victim accused him of being “aggressive” after he knocked her to the ground, with City of London magistrates’ court ruling her evidence was “credible”. Chairman of the bench Dr Andrew Pairmley gave Berkoff, of Limehouse, three penalty points to be added to his UK driving licence when he applies for it to be restored — it expired after he was banned for six months in February for jumping a red light.
Berkoff was fined £350 for driving without due care and attention and £50 for driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
More detail –
Miss Scully had been shopping after work and was walking with a friend for dinner in Soho. At about 6pm they were standing on the north side of Oxford Street when a Mini stopped and gestured for them to cross.
Miss Scully — who said she had to use a walking stick for 10 days after the crash — said: “Once we passed the Mini I heard a car sounding its horn and then a car pulled out from behind the Mini. It wasn’t moving at great speed. It braked and it hit me, knocking me to the ground. At that stage the car would have been on the other side of the road. I had passed the centre line. I was walking quite slowly, I didn’t need to rush.
“The driver got out and said words to the effect of ‘I didn’t touch you’ or ‘I didn’t hit you’. I remember the driver saying ‘she just ran out’. I didn’t run out. I thought he was quite aggressive. I was quite shocked at the time he didn’t say ‘Are you OK?’” The court was told other witnesses confronted Berkoff. The actor said: “My standard of driving is a very high standard and in 40 years I’ve only had one incident … I’m very careful.
“I didn’t lose my temper, I was angry because of the situation. It was a road designed for motor vehicles. If a pedestrian crosses they have to be particularly careful.” Berkoff already admitted driving without a valid licence because his Californian driving licence had expired.
It seems the driver in front of Berkhoff slowed to let the two women cross the street. Berkhoff, for whatever reason, chose to overtake this vehicle and struck one of them while he was driving on the wrong side of the road; then got out and blamed her for ‘causing’ the collision, while she was still sprawled on the ground.
Of course it was the person crossing Oxford Street – possibly the street that has the highest pedestrian footfall in Britain – at 6pm on New Year’s Eve who should have been careful, because Oxford Stret is a ‘road designed for motor vehicles’.
Scully told City of London magistrates court that she had been shocked by Berkoff’s reaction to the incident. “I thought he was quite aggressive when he got out of the car. I was quite shocked at the time and am still quite shocked that he didn’t say ‘are you okay?’ There was no apparent concern or offer of assistance. What struck me was a very aggressive man in a rush who showed no concern for my welfare when I was lying on the road in front of his car.”
At the time of this incident, Berkoff did not have a valid driving licence – the Californian one he presented had expired.
Berkoff – despite claiming to be a ‘careful’ driver – is a serial offender, having amassed 12 points on his British licence in a short space of time. As the article notes, he was banned from driving in February this year, after being caught jumping a red light back in October 2012.
James Bond villain Steven Berkoff has been banned from driving after jumping a red light, despite maintaining he was trying to get out of the way of a police car. The veteran actor, writer and director, 75, who played General Orlov in Octopussy alongside Roger Moore, said he had not meant to break the law.
In a letter read out at City of London Magistrates’ Court he claimed while driving his VW Beetle through Central London: ‘I heard a siren in the near distance and turned to get out of its way.’ But he still pleaded guilty to failing to comply with traffic signals on October 25 last year, earning himself a six-month ban from driving.
Berkoff, who has been caught speeding twice in the last two years and ran another red light in March 2012, already had nine points on his licence. He was handed three more points today, leading to automatic disqualification.
‘Mr Berkoff was driving a Volkswagen Beetle motor vehicle in Upper Thames Street, at the junction with Queen Street Place’, said prosecutor Varinder Hayre. ‘He crossed the stop line when the light had been red for 1.5 seconds, and he was at a speed of 27mph.
Maybe he should bear in mind that, the next time, ‘that could be your mother.’