A Durham Police investigation has concluded that Dominic Cummings did breach lockdown rules when he drove to Barnard Castle, which will further increase the pressure of the PM to sack him.
Dominic Cummings had driven 260 miles from his home in London to stay at his parent’s estate in County Durham, stating he did so after his wife developed coronavirus symptoms and he feared his child could not be cared for if they both fell ill.
He then drove to Barnard Castle so that he could check he felt well enough to drive back to London. He claimed he was resting his eyesight to see if he was fit to drive back to the capital.
Mr Cummings insisted he had acted “lawfully and reasonably” at all times and held a press conference to explain his actions.
However, today an investigation by Durham Police has concluded he did commit a “minor breach” of the guidelines when he drove to Barnard Castle on April 12.
However the force, which according to the most recent data, has issued 137 fines for lockdown breaches, said it would not be any further action against Mr Cummings.
It also stated that the initial trip was not a breach of the lockdown.
In a statement the force said: “Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle – including ANPR (automatic number plate recognition), witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020 – and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention.
“Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.
“Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis.
“Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.”
The force added: “In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public.”
Responding to the statement, a Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.”
A man whose partner has incurable cancer has channelled his anguish at seeing people breaking lockdown rules into making a video game spoofing Dominic Cummings’ visit to Barnard Castle.
Stevie Brown’s partner, Kerry Newman, 38, is isolating in the house where they live with their two children in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, unable to leave because her illness – she has what doctors believe is secondary breast cancer in her pericardium – makes her high risk for Covid-19.
He said : “If Kerry gets sick – because the cancer’s in her blood she’s extremely high risk – if she gets sick, the chances of her dying are extremely high.”
Ms Newman was in hospital until Monday, having surgery to stop fluid building up around her heart, and Mr Brown and the couple’s children were unable to go and visit her.
Mr Brown, 39, said her life expectancy “isn’t great” and he wants to be able to maximise the time he, Erin, nine, and Saoirse, four, have left with her.
But the threat of the virus makes that difficult.
He said: “Everybody’s got a countdown clock to when this is going to end, when lockdown’s going to finish – our clock is how long we’ve got left to spend as a family.
“We’re prepared for the worst.”
The longer lockdown goes on, the more he is worried about what his children’s abiding memories of their mother will be.
He said: “They didn’t get to go to the park, they didn’t get to go to the amusements, they didn’t get to go to the zoo, all the things that families are meant to do – and especially if you’ve got somebody that’s got an incurable illness, these are the things you want to try and do so the memories aren’t just sickness and pain and upset.”