Published: 21 January, 2011
by PETER GRUNER and JAMES LACHNO
ONE of Britain’s leading child protection experts, Dr Colin Hawkes, died in a road accident in Holloway while cycling to work on Wednesday morning.
Dr Hawkes, 64, was on the way to his office at a children’s charity when he was in collision with a silver Peugeot in Carleton Road at the junction with Pleshey Road, opposite the Hilldrop estate, at 8am.
The driver of the car, a 34-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been bailed to return to a north London police station on a date in May.
Dr Hawkes, a keen cyclist, was cycling from his home in Woodford Green, Essex, to his office at the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Camden Town.
The charity’s children’s manager, he lived alone but was believed to be a father-of-two and a grandfather.
Dr Hawkes was well known for his academic work on child abuse, having written articles on the subject for many leading journals. Wes Cuell, NSPCC director of services for children and families, said: “It is with enormous sadness that we heard about the tragic death of Dr Colin Hawkes, who was a highly valued senior member of our National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS), which works with some of the most troubled children in society.
“Colin, who was a children’s services manager and had worked for the NSPCC for 17 years, was an integral member of the NCATS team and was widely known and admired across the society.
“Colin’s loss will be felt throughout the organisation and, most notably, by his colleagues and friends in the NCATS team.”
Anita Green, vice-chairwoman of the charity’s board of trustees, said: “Colin was a remarkable man who gave so much to the children, some of whom were so very young and so badly damaged. His was some of the hardest work in the child protection world and I know from our conversations that it did not come without a personal price. He was an inspirational man.”
Prior to his work with the charity, Dr Hawkes was a consultant social worker at the Young Abusers Project at St Pancras Hospital.
Flowers have been placed at the scene of the accident, with one card reading: “In deepest sympathy. How sad that your life was taken so accidentally,” from Betchworth House on the Hilldrop estate.
Caroline Russell, chairwoman of Islington’s Living Streets and a road safety campaigner, said: “I can’t comment on this incident because I don’t know the facts. But I have noticed recently a lack of respect for speed limits elsewhere in the borough, especially the breaking of limits on 20mph and 30mph roads.
“There are still many who are selfish and drive dangerously fast for the roads they are on, when pedestrians and cyclist are particularly vulnerable.
“Police have said they will not put any more resources into ensuring speed limits are followed.
“They should put in random, mobile speed cameras that can be moved around the borough.”
A post mortem will be held in due course following the accident.
Police are appealing for witnesses. Officers from the Road Death Investigation Unit based at Alperton Traffic Garage have asked anyone who witnessed the collision, or the events leading up to it, to contact its witness line on 0208 998 5319.