A terminally-ill university lecturer who mooned a speed camera for his bucket list has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing today – as police launch a review into the incident.
Darrell Meekcom, 55, was arrested in the garden of his home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, by several officers after dropping his trousers at a mobile speed camera van in November last year.
Following the incident, three police cars pulled up outside the home of Mr Meekcom – who also has Parkinson’s Disease and heart and kidney problems – and demanded to be let in.
When the disabled father-of-two refused, officers allegedly raided his home and kicked down the garden gate before wrestling Mr Meekcom to the ground outside to put him in cuffs.
In footage filmed by his wife, Mr Meekcom, who used to lecture medical students at Birmingham City University, can be heard telling the officers, ‘Have you never wanted to moonie a speed camera? Well I did.’
Mr Meekcom was subsequently arrested and hauled to the station, before being released under investigation.
After being cleared of a public order offence at Redditch Magistrates Court today, Mr Meekcom blasted West Mercia Police for ‘changing the charged three times’ and said ‘when you’re unwell, you don’t want this’.
Darrell Meekcom, 55, (pictured with his wife Sarah) was arrested in the garden of his home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, by several officers after dropping his trousers at a mobile speed camera van in November last year
The court heard that several police officers arrested the lecturer in the garden of his home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire
He said: ‘I’m extremely pleased. The truth like oil comes to the surface. You don’t go to those extremes. The magistrates summed it up perfectly.
‘It was taking a mallet to smash an acorn. It was just a bunch of young kids, there was no leadership there.
‘They said only the one bodycam was able to be used as evidence. I was saying that wasn’t fair.
‘My solicitor twice contacted West Mercia Police three times to get further footage.
‘It has been unbelievable really since last November. The police interview at the station, they were really rude.
‘They changed the charges three times. When you’re unwell, you don’t want this.
‘I maybe shouldn’t have done it anyway, but when you’re dying you think of things differently.’
Terminally-ill university lecturer Darrell Meekcom allegedly dropped his trousers in the direction of a mobile police van in November last year
West Mercia Police confirmed they had received a complaint, which would subsequently be referred to their professional standards department for a review.
Chair of the bench Justice Charles Townsend said: ‘After a lengthy hearing and a lengthy discussion, we conclude as follows.
‘We note that at no point during the hour long plus incident did you cooperate with or inform the police of any health issues until you were taken to ground.
‘We feel the police acted quite lawfully on Friday November 5 by arresting you.
‘However, given the serious health conditions you are faced with, clenching your hands in the way that you did was justified, given the potential consequences of your hands being placed behind your back.
‘Therefore we find you not guilty of resisting arrest and that your defence of self-protection has been accepted.
‘You’re free to leave.’
Police bodycam footage played to Redditch magistrates today. showed Mr Meekcom telling West Mercia Police officer PC Gareth Jones: ‘I mooned a speed camera. I’m terminally ill. I’ve got Parkinson’s mate.’
Sarah Hurd, prosecuting, told the court today that police had attended the lecturer’s home ‘for matters the court did not need to know about’.
She said Mr Meekcom was uncooperative when officers arrived at the address, directing abuse towards them before resisting arrest.
Opening the case, Ms Hurd added that it had only been a ‘short piece of obstruction’, but the defendant’s actions were ‘unjustified’.
Darrell Meekcom, 55, who has multiple system atrophy (MSA) is standing trial at Redditch Magistrates’ Court
She continued: ‘For matters that you do not need to know about officers attended the defendant’s address at around 12.30pm on November 5.
‘They went to investigate an offence and they knock on the door. The defendant answers through a window and says he will not cooperate. He does not want to give his name or discuss anything with the officers.’
The court heard that, as he continually refused to cooperate, Meekcom was ‘taken to the ground’ before informing officers that he has ‘very serious health conditions’.
Police bodycam footage played to the court showed Mr Meekcom telling West Mercia Police officer PC Gareth Jones: ‘I mooned a speed camera. I’m terminally ill. I’ve got Parkinson’s mate.’
The father-of-two, who has multiple system atrophy, was also alleged to have verbally abused the arresting officers, calling one a ‘c***’ before singing Monty Python’s ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’.
Recalling the incident, PC Jones said: ‘He immediately said you c***s, you reckless c***s. I was concerned by what he would do next.
He added: ‘From the very beginning he was doing whatever he could to stop us. We did move the handcuffs as we were listening to him about his health.
‘He was singing to me, calling me names, commenting on my hair, making it difficult.
‘All I know is the bits he were singing at me were from [Always Look On] The Bright Side Of Life.’
Officers pulled up outside Mr Meekcom’s home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, and he was later wrestled to the ground by officers during the arrest in his back garden
Meekcom, a registered nurse, previously appeared before magistrates wearing a t-shirt depicting cartoon character Bart Simpson flashing his bottom towards police.
The same image was sprayed on an underpass near his home by a graffiti artist known as the Scottish Banksy as the court case gained worldwide notoriety.
Speaking at the time, Meekcom said he was left ‘gobsmacked’ at the ‘heavy-handed’ response and accused West Mercia Police of ‘outrageous bullying’.
He also slammed the ‘trumped-up’ charges, claiming that officers were ‘looking for any little thing to get me on’.
The lecturer added: ‘It’s pathetic. What an absolute waste of public funding. This is an escalation of what they’ve done. You can’t keep changing it and altering it until you find something that fits.
‘What are they going to come up with next. They are literally looking for any little thing to get me on.
‘I pulled my trousers down and mooned at a speed camera. That’s all I did.’
Meekcom lives with his wife Sarah, 36, and their two daughters.