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When terminally-ill Darrell ‘mooned’ at a velocity digicam, he by no means dreamed what it will result in

Devastated when he was identified with a uncommon terminal sickness, Darrell Meekcom set about drawing up his ‘bucket listing’. 

The retired lecturer and former A&E nurse vowed to create treasured reminiscences for his younger household earlier than, he says, ‘I turn out to be a prisoner in my very own physique’. 

Topping the listing have been a visit to Disney World with spouse Sarah, 37, and daughters Phoebe, 11, and Molly, 9, tickets to see pop star Adele in Las Vegas and a Mediterranean cruise. 

Subsequent got here a ‘big-game’ fishing journey, a classic automotive highway journey from Land’s Finish to John O’Groats, and circuits round Manufacturers Hatch in a racing Jaguar. 

Lastly, he joked, he’d wish to ‘moon’ at a velocity digicam — payback for the few events he’d been caught out in his extra humble Ford Focus. 

Darrell Meekcom, 55, drew up a bucket listing of issues he needed to do earlier than he dies after being given the tragic information he had a number of system atrophy (MSA)

‘I by no means dreamt, in one million years, that I’d ever really do it,’ says Darrell, 55, whose neurodegenerative dysfunction means he has a life expectancy of between six and 9 years. 

Simply three weeks after his prognosis of a number of system atrophy (MSA), nevertheless, a seemingly irresistible alternative introduced itself. 

Driving dwelling one Friday lunchtime, he pulled into the Tesco Specific on Stourbridge Street in Worcestershire in order that his spouse might decide up a loaf of bread. 

Whereas Sarah popped into the store, Darrell spied a cellular velocity digicam van parked up close by and, properly, ‘You solely dwell as soon as, don’t you?’ 

‘It was spur-of-the-moment,’ he says of that day final November. ‘It was quiet, there was nobody round, so I walked over in direction of the again of the van, shortly pulled down my denims to point out a little bit of builder’s bum on the digicam within the rear window. 

‘I had no concept if there was anybody within the van. I couldn’t see anybody. It was only a snort; the sort of foolish prank you may do as a schoolkid on a coach.’ 

Cheered on by a bunch of real-life builders who exited Tesco in time to see the complete moon, Darrell returned to his automotive feeling ‘very smug’ at having ticked off a bucket listing merchandise to a spherical of applause. 

Sarah, a former nurse, however now her husband’s carer, recollects: ‘I by no means imagined it will be the beginning of a nine-month nightmare.’

Terminally-ill retired university lecturer Mr Meekcom was later arrested by six police officers in his back garden after baring his bottom at a speed camera

Terminally-ill retired college lecturer Mr Meekcom was later arrested by six law enforcement officials in his again backyard after baring his backside at a velocity digicam

However nightmare it was: three police automobiles descended on their Kidderminster dwelling barely 20 minutes later. 

Wrestled to the bottom and handcuffed in his personal again backyard, Darrell and his spouse say they have been — given his well being — left fearful for his life. His arrest on suspicion of indecent publicity and harmful driving, which a distressed Sarah captured on her cellphone digicam, made headlines. 

Mendacity on his entrance, fingers cuffed behind his again, Darrell could be heard calmly telling officers: ‘That is ridiculous. I mooned at a velocity digicam… I’m terminally ailing, I’ve bought a really brief time to dwell.’ 

Months of stress adopted, however the nightmare lastly ended final Tuesday when magistrates cleared Mr Meekcom of the one cost dropped at trial — obstructing a police constable within the execution of their obligation. 

Two additional expenses of utilizing threatening behaviour prone to trigger harassment, alarm or misery have been dropped. West Mercia Police have launched a evaluation into the incident. 

That is the couple’s first interview for the reason that verdict and it’s laborious to disagree with their evaluation that the case ‘beggars perception’. 

Three police cars pulled up outside Mr Meekcom's home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, before he was wrestled to the ground by six officers during the arrest

Three police automobiles pulled up exterior Mr Meekcom’s dwelling in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, earlier than he was wrestled to the bottom by six officers in the course of the arrest

Darrell compares the police’s actions that day to ‘taking a mallet to smash an acorn’. ‘It’s an enormous reduction to be cleared, however I simply really feel fortunate to be alive,’ he says. 

‘One other two or three minutes face-down in handcuffs and I’m satisfied I might have ended up useless in my again backyard.’ 

His defence lawyer, John Rogers, provides: ‘It appears to me that nobody actually checked out this sensibly. In my opinion, it might have been handled exterior the court docket. 

‘Mr Meekcom readily admitted that he had mooned at a police velocity digicam. They might have, within the circumstances, simply given him a warning and stated: “You’ve been a naughty boy; don’t do it once more.” ’ 

Darrell is the primary to agree that ‘mooning’ at a velocity digicam is a puerile, ill-advised factor to do. However he explains that it was his latest prognosis of a terminal sickness which made him throw warning to the wind that day. 

MSA — which additionally the late Wales and British Lions ahead Gareth Williams — causes gradual injury to nerve cells within the mind, affecting stability, motion and fundamental features resembling respiration, digestion, bladder management and blood stress. 

Besides MSA, Mr Meekcom suffers from heart disease, kidney failure and Parkinson's Disease

Moreover MSA, Mr Meekcom suffers from coronary heart illness, kidney failure and Parkinson’s Illness

‘The prognosis was shattering,’ says Darrell, who had to surrender nursing and his lecturing job on the Metropolis of Birmingham College in 2017 by means of ailing well being. 

‘At 50, I used to be a match man nonetheless taking part in rugby as soon as every week. Inside two years, I used to be so stiff I might barely get out of my chair. Once you’re dying, you assume in another way. After I noticed the velocity digicam van I simply thought “Stuff it”.’ 

At first, Darrell thought the officer he noticed in his rear view mirror — taking down his automotive particulars — was a visitors warden. ‘I stated: “What are you doing? I’m not parked illegally.” After which the penny dropped.’

What appears like an virtually farcical stand-off ensued, with — Darrell claims — the officer standing in entrance of his automotive to stop him driving off, whereas Mr Meekcom manoeuvred round him. 

When Sarah got here out of the store, the officer had already stepped apart. He would later say that he’d felt harassed and threatened by Mr Meekcom’s behaviour and offended by his naked buttocks.

‘We drove off and I believed that may be the top of it,’ says Darrell. ‘However earlier than we might even make of a cup of tea there was a knock on the door.’ 

The officer instructed Mr Meekcom he needed to talk to him about an allegation of indecent publicity and harmful driving, however Darrell refused. As a substitute, he placed on the Monty Python tune At all times Look On The Brilliant Facet of Life, opened the window and began singing. 

Mr Meekcom shows the damage to his back door after police forced their way into his garden to arrest him

Mr Meekcom exhibits the injury to his again door after police compelled their means into his backyard to arrest him

All of a sudden, Darrell says, his home was surrounded by officers, beating on the home windows. 

Poor Sarah finally persuaded her husband to exit. 

‘I’d simply taken a few steps exterior the again door, after they knocked by means of the facet gate with an enormous, crimson, heavy hammer. It wasn’t even locked,’ he says. 

Darrell admits he swore as a result of he was upset over the injury, however insists he wasn’t bodily aggressive or verbally threatening. Why, then, was he handcuffed? The Affiliation of Chief Police Officers’ pointers state officers ought to solely use them when there’s a danger of a suspect changing into violent or working away. Due to his muscle rigidity, Darrell says he was fearful of damage as they tried to place his arms up behind his again, so he tried to wriggle out of their grasp to guard himself. 

Cops, prosecutor Sarah Hurd instructed Redditch Magistrates’ Courtroom, took Mr Meekcom to the bottom. It was then, she stated, that Mr Meekcom knowledgeable them of his very severe well being situations. Due to his situation, Darrell suffers from gastroparesis — a paralysis of his digestive system inflicting a distended abdomen which places upward stress on his lungs — so he was struggling to breathe mendacity on his entrance. 

Sarah watched on in horror from the kitchen window. ‘I couldn’t consider what I used to be seeing,’ she says. ‘I actually thought he might die in entrance of me, however was frightened that if I went out to intervene, I’d be arrested, too.’ 

After Darrell instructed the officers about his medical situation, the court docket heard, {the handcuffs} have been moved to the entrance to assist him breathe higher.

He was then taken to the police station for round three hours, earlier than two officers drove him dwelling and Sarah took him to hospital to be checked over. Darrell was later invited for interview underneath warning, arriving in his mobility scooter, having already offered a medical report confirming his terminal sickness. He by no means confronted expenses for the alleged offences for which he was initially arrested. 

That, nevertheless, was not the top of it. Mr Meekcom — who has lodged a criticism over his arrest — confronted expenses of public order offences as an alternative, which he denied in court docket. 

‘It’s an enormous reduction now to be cleared of all wrong-doing, however I really feel very saddened it got here to this,’ says Darrell. ‘I can’t describe the stress my household has been underneath.’ 

Chief Inspector Greg Tudge, of West Mercia Police, stated: ‘We respect the choice of the Justice of the Peace on this case. We are able to additionally affirm that now we have acquired a criticism in relation to the case, and this can now be reviewed by our Skilled Requirements Division. 

‘We handed the file over to the Crown Prosecution Service, who have been glad there was enough proof to deliver ahead a cost.’ 

A CPS spokesperson added: ‘Our resolution to prosecute Mr Meekcom was made in accordance with our persevering with obligation of evaluation underneath the Code for Crown Prosecutors.’ 

This week, the Meekcoms fly to Madeira to tick off one other merchandise on Darrell’s listing — sea fishing. ‘I actually don’t understand how a lot time I’ve left,’ he says. ‘We have to begin making these reminiscences.’ And attempt to neglect these of the previous 9 months.



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