Lampard escapes prosecution after being targeted by YouTube vigilante
Former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has been let off driving charges after vigilante footage appeared to show him with a mobile phone in one hand and a coffee in the other while at the wheel.
Relieved of his duties as Chelsea head coach by club owner Roman Abramovich almost a year ago, the 43-year-old was caught on camera by a cyclist, Mike van Erp, who believed that Lampard was talking on his device while driving his $340,000 black Mercedes G wagon.
Van Erp forwarded his findings to the authorities, leading to Lampard being charged with using a handheld mobile phone or device while driving a motor vehicle on a road.
Lampard was due in court on Monday but dodged punishment with the help of lawyer Nick Freeman.
Known as 'Mr. Loophole', Freeman made sure that his client never even had to step foot in court with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropping the case due to insufficient evidence late last week.
"The Crown Prosecution Service have now concluded three days before the case was due before court [that] there was insufficient evidence," Freeman explained to the Daily Mail.
"It came after we served a statement from a passenger in the car. They would have had to prove he was driving, he was using his mobile phone, [and] that he was using it for an interactive purpose.
"All that would have needed to have been beyond reasonable doubt. He pleaded not guilty and they dropped the case, so he’s been found not guilty," Freeman concluded, as the CPS also confirmed the development.
"After examining a file of evidence submitted by the Metropolitan Police Service, we concluded, in accordance with our legal test, [that] there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction," they said.
All this comes despite Van Erp's video appearing to show the midfield icon holding both items in his vehicle, and UK law states that a driver may only use a hand-held device at the wheel if their car is parked safely, with punishments of six points off a driving license and a $270 fine for offenders.
"He's on his phone, clearly holding and talking on his phone at the same time. And holding a coffee as well," said Van Erp of his capture, which shows a stunned Lampard driving his stationary wagon in traffic with a dog in the passenger seat.
But for vigilante Van Erp – a carer and roller-skating teacher who was inspired by a tragic incident to bust offenders while cycling around London with a GoPro camera mounted in his helmet – the work no doubt continues.
"I definitely think what I am doing is keeping the roads safe," he told the Daily Mail. "The points system is designed to get people to drive better."
"I have had quite a lot of anonymous death threats through what I do," admitted the man allegedly responsible for shopping over 350 drivers in 2021, who were given a collective 574 points on their licenses and $48,000 in fines.
"My dad was killed by a drink-driver when I was 19, I still remember him, so I feel very strongly about road safety. I first got my helmet camera in 2006 and realized its potential," he added.
Boasting 71,500 subscribers on his 'CyclingMikey' YouTube channel, Van Erp's highest-profile victims are Hollywood film director Guy Ritchie and ex-boxer Chris Eubank.
The former was banned for six months last summer for typing on his phone while stationary in Hyde Park, and the latter was given three penalty points and had to pay $382 after admitting to driving off and jumping a red light in his $504,000 Rolls Royce when Van Erp confronted him and asked: "Are you famous?"
As for Freeman, other famous clients include Lampard's former England teammate David Beckham and TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson.