Cycling police officer broke elderly motorist’s jaw during road rage attack
An off-duty police officer broke an elderly motorist’s jaw after calling him a ‘stupid bastard’ during a road rage dispute, a disciplinary hearing was told.
Stuart Box, then 44, lost his temper with 70-year-old Peter Burgum when the older man overtook him as he was cycling in Frampton Cotterell, Gloucestershire, last April, shouting that he had ‘nearly f**king killed’ him.
When Mr Burgum pulled to a stop Box banged on the side of his Mitsubishi and hit the wing mirror before slapping the pensioner and throwing his phone over a wall when he tried to film the attack.
The misconduct hearing was told he then followed it up with a punch which sent Mr Burgum crumpling to the floor so hard his wife Caroline screamed out: ‘You’ve killed him.’
Box then rode off without calling 999 or leaving any details while Mr Burgum lay injured.
He suffered two fractures to his jaw which required surgery to mend and left him unable to eat solid food.
The pensioner passed away only weeks later from entirely unrelated causes, but Mrs Burgum said her memories of him are ‘indelibly marked’ by the attack.
Elliot Gold, representing Avon and Somerset Constabulary during the proceedings, said Box was identified through dashcam footage.
He submitted that the constable lost his temper and used an unreasonable level of force when he should have tried to de-escalate the situation.
Andy Roebuck, representing the Police Federation, said the former officer had expressed remorse and ‘could only apologise’ for what happened.
Panel chair Stephanie Beazley said Box may have acted on adrenaline initially but his culpability for the incident increased the longer it went on.
She added: ‘PC Box had 23 years of police experience, he should have known better.’
The hearing was told he would have been sacked for gross misconduct had he not already resigned.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary also said it had investigated the incident and presented its evidence to the CPS, who decided that no criminal charges should be brought.
Superintendent Simon Wilstead, head of Professional Standards at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, apologised to Mr Burgum’s widow.
He said: ‘Firstly, on behalf of Avon and Somerset Constabulary I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to Mrs Burgum and her family for the incident which involved an off-duty officer.
‘Mr Box was not on duty at the time of the incident, but nevertheless we expect a high standard of behaviour by officers, whether they are in or out of uniform, and he failed to meet those ethical standards.
‘As a police force we believe in absolute transparency and Mr Box’s failure to report what happened at the earliest opportunity is at odds with what we stand for.
‘The IOPC was informed of the incident at the outset and it decided it was happy with Avon and Somerset Police investigating what happened.
‘A thorough and proportionate criminal investigation was carried out before the CPS was presented with the evidence.
‘The misconduct investigation has subsequently followed leading to today’s outcome.
‘Despite the officer resigning, it was important to hold a hearing into the very serious allegations against Mr Box to ensure that, if proven, he would be placed on the barred list.’