Mountbatten Centre track where cyclist died '˜did not meet safety guidelines', inquest is told

The cycling track a policeman was killed on after a horrific race collision did not meet safety guidance, an inquest heard.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 8th February 2018, 2:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th February 2018, 2:33 pm
Richard Phillips-Schofield
Richard Phillips-Schofield

PC Richard Phillips-Schofield died after he was involved in a 35mph multi-bike pile up at the Mountbatten Centre velodrome on March 9, 2014.

The 33-year old suffered severe head and chest injuries and was pronounced brain dead two days later at Queen Alexandra Hospital on March 11.

Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard how the safety of the track had been called into question following Sport England’s guidance.

‘The Mountbatten Centre did not meet the design guidance regarding the perimeter fence,’ Steven Bell, Portsmouth City Council enforcement officer who investigated the site, told the inquest jury.

Mr Bell went on to explain the guidance from Sport England was only introduced in 2003 and was not law.

There were also questions over whether the guidance was even relevant to the Mountbatten Centre due to it being a hybrid of a road and track velodrome.

Danny Churcher, the general manager of Parkswood Leisure at the time, which sub-let the centre, told the inquest there had been no problems before with the track.

‘The steel barrier had been there for many years and was used for many events,’ he said.

Mr Churcher said he was made aware the barrier did not meet Sport England’s guidance but that the barrier had been ‘installed long before the guidance’.

He said neither British Cycling nor Sport England had raised any concerns about the track and said there had been ‘no complaints about the barrier or design of track’.

PC Phillips-Schofield, who had been a policeman for 10 years in Hampshire, represented the force nationally and internationally in cycling.

He also won two gold medals for cycling at the World Police & Fire Games in Belfast in 2013.