A woman claims a police 4×4 carrying Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the Queen’s daughter-in-law, crashed into her car and then drove off because it was not allowed to stop.
Gill Walker, 59, says she was changing lanes in Birmingham city centre when the 4×4 hit her car at rush hour – but the force now claims it was her fault even though she has dashcam footage.
The receptionist claims she stopped and indicated for the driver to pull over so they could swap insurance details, but the police vehicle “just drove off”.
Ms Walker said a second 4×4 – with blue flashing lights – pulled up next to her Peugeot 107, and the police officers inside told her a Royal Family member was a passenger in the other vehicle, Birmingham Live reports.
She said the officers told her the vehicle was not allowed to stop moments after the minor collision just before 6.30pm on November 13 last year because it was carrying a Royal.
The collision happened as Sophie, who is married to the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, visited Birmingham to open a first-of-its-kind military and civilian wound research centre.
She was the only Royal Family member on official business in Birmingham that day, the Court Circular confirms.
The Royal Family posted several photos that day of mum-of-two Sophie, 54, opening the Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Sophie, a patron of the Scar Free Foundation who used to work in public relations, met foundation and hospital officials, recovering veterans and a survivor of the Manchester Arena bombing.
Four months on, mum-of-two Ms Walker, a receptionist from Birmingham, said she is now locked in an insurance battle over the bump in Bristol Road.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police confirmed the collision involved a convoy and said the 4×4 could not stop due to “operational reasons and force protocol”.
The spokesperson said the force’s insurers were involved in discussions relating to the collision involving a police vehicle driven by a sergeant.
Ms Walker said she swapped insurance details with the officers in the second 4×4 and has also provided dashcam footage of the moment of the collision.
She said she was on her way home at the time of the collision, adding: “I’d indicated and moved over into the middle lane.
“On my dashcam you see the 4×4 in the right hand lane, see its wheels turn and they’ve caught me from the back end of my bumper.
“They stopped and I wound down my window and indicated for them to pull over.
“But as I pulled over, the 4×4 just drove off.
“Then another 4×4 with police blue lights pulled over and I shouted ‘He’s driven off!’
“They said ‘No, they’re with us. Can you go round the corner?’”
Ms Walker said an officer in the second vehicle told her: “There’s a Royal on board, they’re not allowed to stop.”
She added: “I asked ‘Who’s on board?’ but he said ‘I’m not obliged to say’. They took pictures of my car and said it was a police matter now.”
Ms Walker said she was kept at the scene for two hours after being told traffic officers were being sent to investigate.
She was warned she might have to be breathalysed, but no breath test kit could be located for an hour, she added.
The mum claims the insurance row began when her insurer, Tesco, contacted West Midlands Police, and the force denied that it was in the wrong.
She added: “The police are saying it’s all my fault.
“But the dashcam footage shows I’ve clearly got into the lane and they have hit me.
“It’s like they’ve put all the blame on me and they’ve got solicitors involved. It looks like it’s going to court because the police don’t want to know.”
Ms Walker said the only details she was given about the driver of the police vehicle was the address for the West Midlands Police HQ at Lloyd House.
She said: “My insurance company asked ‘Did you get the driver’s name?’ And I said ‘They didn’t stop!’
“The dashcam footage clearly shows I’d gone into the lane and my dashcam catches their wheels turning. They hit me, I didn’t hit them.
“To be honest, there wasn’t a huge amount of damage done to the car and it was still driveable. So why are they denying they did it? They clearly did. Tesco has said it is going to have to take legal action against the police’s insurance company.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman confirmed one of its vehicles “was involved in a collision with a third party vehicle during a police operation, resulting in damage to both vehicles as they travelled along a three-lane carriageway.
“Due to operational reasons and force protocol, the vehicle did not stop, but another vehicle in convoy behind the damaged car did stop, and details were exchanged with the third party for insurance purposes.
“A report has been completed by the driver, a police sergeant, and is with the force’s insurers for assessment.”
A Tesco Bank spokesman said: “We know being involved in an accident can be a stressful experience, which is why we do everything possible to help our customers.
“As is standard practice across the industry, when we are unable to reach a resolution with the insurer of the third party, we take the case to litigation, which in this case is the insurer of the police vehicle.”
A spokesperson for the Royal Family declined to identify the passenger and comment on the collision, saying it was “a matter for West Midlands Police”.