The mum of a police officer killed in a cycling crash at a Hampshire velodrome has called for it to remain closed.

Elizabeth Phillips-Schofield spoke out after a petition was mounted by local cyclists to get the track reopened which was closed following the death of her son Richard.

As previously reported, nearly 500 people, including Hamble’s Olympic star Dani King, have signed a petition to get the Mountbatten Centre’s velodrome reopened following the tragedy.

But the grieving mother of the Bitterne police officer said it should not be opened until after the inquest when the full details of what caused the accident will be revealed.

Popular PC Phillips-Schofield was competing at a British Cycling event at the Portsmouth facility in March when he came off his bike.

The 33-year-old, who had served the Southampton community for the last ten years, died 48 hours later.

But now there are calls from coaches and members of Hampshire clubs that use it for it to reopened.

An online petition has so far collected 475 signatures.

Some have raised fears that young Hampshire cyclists unable to use the facility are being forced out onto roads or training in car parks, which could be dangerous.

However, Ms Phillips-Schofield, who lives in the West Midlands, argued safety on the track was more important.

She told how Richard, who was “devoted to cycling”, had found other ways to practise and compete without a velodrome.

She told the Daily Echo: “Surely safety and the preservation of a cyclist’s life are of greater importance?”

“I strongly object to any thoughts of re-opening the velodrome and remind the petitioner that the velodrome has been closed for a reason.

“I would not wish any other cyclist to be harmed, let alone killed, until investigations have been fully completed.”

Danny Churcher, general manager of Parkwood Community Leisure, which runs the facility on behalf of Portsmouth City Council, has told the Daily Echo the track closed initially on the advice of the council’s environmental health officer while a full investigation was carried out.

He said that despite not being given a copy of that report, he was aware of the recommendations and was reviewing them with the council and British Cycling.