Case: Death of a Dancer: Naomi Benjamin
Nyaraui Benjamin
Case unsolved
Status: Solved
Categories: Uncategorised
Case synopsis:

Nyaraui Benjamin, 34, died under the wheels of a prison van in Brixton, south London, on April 22, 2008.

Ms Benjamin, also known as Naomi, had been dancing in the middle of the junction of Brixton Road and Coldharbour Lane during rush hour.

While other cars were able to drive around her, the driver of the prison van, 48 year-old Andrew Curtis, was forced to come to a stop.

Witnesses saw the van edge forward slowly in first gear as Ms Benjamin blocked the road saying ''Come on, come on.''

Ms Benjamin grabbed the windscreen wipers before falling under the wheels. She died at the scene of of a broken neck.

Passers-by angrily surrounded the van and banged on it to stop and Curtis remained at the scene until police and paramedics arrived.

Curtis was later charged with murder and went on trial at the Old Bailey on April 27, 2009. The prosecution claimed that he drove deliberately at Ms Benjamin ''in a moment of complete madness.''

But Curtis told the jury he believed the woman had moved out of the way of his van when he accelerated forward.

He said: ''When I last saw her it was to the left extremity of my vehicle. I remember sounding the horn. I checked my mirrors and I didn''t see her in the areas where I would expect someone to be in front of my vehicle. I was satisfied she was no longer in front of my vehicle.''

Curtis was cleared of both murder and manslaughter by the jury. As he was discharged from the dock, Judge Martin Stephens QC described it as ''a most unusual and difficult case for everyone involved.''

Picture of Naomi Benjamin at

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