Row over fine for dad speeding on way to Leeds hospital

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A father who was caught speeding while rushing his seriously ill daughter to hospital says he will take the case to court.

Michael Clapham, 61, was clocked travelling at 36mph in a 30mph zone on Otley Road in West Park, Leeds, as he tried to get daughter Michelle to St James’s Hospital.

The 32-year-old was suffering from a severe attack of pain caused by a rare genetic condition.

Retired lecturer Mr Clapham has already unsuccessfully called on the West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership to drop the £100 fine and three penalty points he received but was told he would have to appeal to the magistrates’ court. He said: “I’m certainly prepared to go to court – I’m not going to pay. As far as I can see I have a crystal clear case.”

Several members of the Clapham family have suffered from acute intermittent porphyria, which can cause attacks that result in severe abdomen and joint pain. Failure to get treatment can result in the release of dangerous levels of toxins into the body.

Mr Clapham and his family live 55 miles away, in Burnley, but his daughter receives specialist treatment in Leeds.

Mr Clapham, who was trapped by the speed camera shortly before 11pm on November 16, said he didn’t call an ambulance because he didn’t want to waste time. He added: “I was doing what any concerned father would do.”

Zafar Iqbal, partnership manager of the West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, said: “Excessive speed is a well-documented factor in road traffic collisions and presents a danger to other road users and pedestrians.

“If a situation is deemed an emergency which requires exemption from the speed limits, it should be dealt with by the correct authority which has the relevant training and appropriate vehicles to respond in an urgent but safe manner.

“Drivers caught exceeding the speed limit at the level in this case can be offered the option of attending a speed awareness course, if they have not been on one before, or paying a fixed penalty and having their licence endorsed with penalty points.

“The only available procedure for offering mitigation about the circumstances is by attending court where magistrates can consider any representations and decide on a suitable outcome.”

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