Monday 8 August 2022 10:16 PM When terminally-ill Darrell 'mooned' at a speed camera, he never dreamed what ... trends now

Monday 8 August 2022 10:16 PM When terminally-ill Darrell 'mooned' at a speed camera, he never dreamed what ... trends now
Monday 8 August 2022 10:16 PM When terminally-ill Darrell 'mooned' at a speed camera, he never dreamed what ... trends now

Monday 8 August 2022 10:16 PM When terminally-ill Darrell 'mooned' at a speed camera, he never dreamed what ... trends now

Devastated when he was diagnosed with a rare terminal illness, Darrell Meekcom set about drawing up his ‘bucket list’. 

The retired lecturer and former A&E nurse vowed to create precious memories for his young family before, he says, ‘I become a prisoner in my own body’. 

Topping the list were a trip to Disney World with wife Sarah, 37, and daughters Phoebe, 11, and Molly, nine, tickets to see pop star Adele in Las Vegas and a Mediterranean cruise. 

Next came a ‘big-game’ fishing trip, a vintage car road trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and circuits around Brands Hatch in a racing Jaguar. 

Lastly, he joked, he’d like to ‘moon’ at a speed camera — payback for the few occasions he’d been caught out in his more humble Ford Focus. 

Darrell Meekcom, 55, drew up a bucket list of things he wanted to do before he dies after being given the tragic news he had multiple system atrophy (MSA)

Darrell Meekcom, 55, drew up a bucket list of things he wanted to do before he dies after being given the tragic news he had multiple system atrophy (MSA)

‘I never dreamt, in a million years, that I’d ever actually do it,’ says Darrell, 55, whose neurodegenerative disorder means he has a life expectancy of between six and nine years. 

Just three weeks after his diagnosis of multiple system atrophy (MSA), however, a seemingly irresistible opportunity presented itself. 

Driving home one Friday lunchtime, he pulled into the Tesco Express on Stourbridge Road in Worcestershire so that his wife could pick up a loaf of bread. 

While Sarah popped into the shop, Darrell spied a mobile speed camera van parked up nearby and, well, ‘You only live once, don’t you?’ 

‘It was spur-of-the-moment,’ he says of that day last November. ‘It was quiet, there was no one around, so I walked over towards the back of the van, quickly pulled down my jeans to show a bit of builder’s bum at the camera in the rear window. 

‘I had no idea if there was anyone in the van. I couldn’t see anyone. It was just a laugh; the kind of silly prank you might do as a schoolkid on a coach.’ 

Cheered on by a bunch of real-life builders who exited Tesco in time to see the full moon, Darrell returned to his car feeling ‘very smug’ at having ticked off a bucket list item to a round of applause. 

Sarah, a former nurse, but now her husband’s carer, recalls: ‘I never imagined it would be the start of a nine-month nightmare.’

Terminally-ill retired university lecturer Mr Meekcom was later arrested by six police officers in his back garden after baring his bottom at a speed camera

Terminally-ill retired university lecturer Mr Meekcom was later arrested by six police officers in his back garden after baring his bottom at a speed camera

But nightmare it was: three police cars descended on their Kidderminster home barely 20 minutes later. 

Wrestled to the ground and handcuffed in his own back garden, Darrell and his wife say they were — given his health — left fearful for his life. His arrest on suspicion of indecent exposure and dangerous driving, which a distressed Sarah captured on her phone camera, made headlines. 

Lying on his front, hands cuffed behind his back, Darrell can be heard calmly telling officers: ‘This is ridiculous. I mooned at a speed camera… I’m terminally ill, I’ve got a very short time to live.’ 

Months of stress followed, but the nightmare finally ended last Tuesday when magistrates cleared Mr Meekcom of the only charge brought to trial — obstructing a police constable in the execution of their duty. 

Two further charges of using threatening behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress were dropped. West Mercia Police have launched a review into the incident. 

This is the couple’s first interview since the verdict and it’s hard to disagree with their assessment that the case ‘beggars belief’. 

Three police cars pulled up outside Mr Meekcom's home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, before he was wrestled to the ground by six officers during the arrest

Three police cars pulled up outside Mr Meekcom's home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, before he was wrestled to the ground by six officers during the arrest

Darrell compares the police’s actions that day to ‘taking a mallet to smash an acorn’. ‘It’s a huge relief to be cleared, but I just feel lucky to be alive,’ he says. 

‘Another two or three minutes face-down in handcuffs and I’m convinced I could have ended up dead in my back garden.’ 

His defence lawyer, John Rogers, adds: ‘It seems to me that no one really looked at this sensibly. In my view, it could have been dealt with outside the court. 

‘Mr Meekcom readily admitted that he had mooned at a police speed camera. They could have, in the circumstances, just given him a warning and said: “You’ve been a naughty boy; don’t do it again.” ’ 

Darrell is the first to agree that ‘mooning’

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