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Fatal collision inquest concludes pursuit was “legitimate”

An IOPC investigation had previously found the GMP officers followed all relevant policies and procedures.

An inquest following a fatal collision after a police pursuit has concluded that the pursuit was “legitimate and proportionate”.

On September 23 2020, a Mercedes C class had failed to stop for officers in an unmarked car. The vehicle had come to the attention of police while travelling at speed.

They began to follow the car and observed it reaching speeds of 80mph in a 30mph zone and travelling through a red traffic light.

Officers activated their emergency equipment, but the Mercedes failed to stop and a pursuit developed, lasting just under a minute.

Evidence showed the Mercedes was travelling on the wrong side of the road when it struck two oncoming cars. There was no evidence of any contact between the police car and any other vehicle.

The car struck the two other vehicles, both Volkswagen Passats, shortly before 11.50pm. The two occupants of the Mercedes, Tommy Sharp and Paddy Connors, died from their injuries. Three other people, who were all traveling in one of the VWs, were seriously hurt in the crash.

An inquest for Mr Sharp, 29, and Mr Connors, 36, concluded earlier this week. The jury returned a narrative conclusion, stating the pursuit had been “legitimate and proportionate”.

Several police officers arrived on the scene following the collision and provided CPR to Mr Sharp and Mr Connors, who were unconscious, prior to the arrival of paramedics and continued to assist once they took over.

Mr Connors was later pronounced dead at the scene, while Mr Sharp was taken to hospital where he died a short time later.

IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “Any loss of life is a tragedy and our thoughts are with the men’s family and loved ones, as well as all those affected by this deeply distressing incident.

“Our investigation was thorough and carried out independently of the police. We found the actions of the officers, who were suitably trained and in an appropriate vehicle for such a pursuit, were in line with their training and all relevant policies.

“I would also like to commend the actions of those officers who tried so hard to save the lives of Mr Sharp and Mr Connors immediately following the collision.”

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