Police officer was 'above speed limit' before fatal crash in Sheffield, inquest told

Leslie Bingham.
Leslie Bingham.

An on-duty police officer who knocked down and killed a pensioner on a pedestrian crossing was going over the speed limit, an inquest heard.

Leslie Bingham, aged 73, was hit by a marked patrol car which “came out of nowhere” while on his way to his granddaughter’s 21st birthday celebration at Owlerton Greyhound Stadium in Sheffield, it was said.

The scene of the collision.

The scene of the collision.

READ MORE: VIDEO AND PICTURES: Huge plumes of black smoke spotted as fire rages near Doncaster town centre

A jury of seven women and two men at Sheffield Coroner's Court heard the patrol car was not on an emergency call at the time of the crash.

Giving evidence yesterday, police constable Stephen Hazelhurst, who was on duty at the time, said there was “absolutely nothing” he could do to prevent the tragic collision.

PC Hazelhurst said he was travelling at a speed he perceived to be safe for the road despite the cars black box recording that he was doing 41mph in a 30mph zone.

He described the collision as “split second” and was a “blur” but claimed he had done everything he could in the horrific situation.

A jury at Sheffield Coroner's Court heard that the patrol car was not on an emergency call at the time of the crash and was not in a rush.

Giving evidence PC Hazelhurst said: “It was split second

READ MORE: ​UPDATE: Firefighters damping down at scene of huge Doncaster scrap yard blaze

I was in the offside lane preparing to go right, it was an everyday drive for me.

“The first I saw of Mr Bingham was when he was in the middle of the first lane.

“He looked like more of a blur, different colours appeared which shouldn’t be there and I wasn’t sure what he was.

“I just noticed it was moving very quickly.

“The moment I saw him I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do in regards to avoiding the collision.

“I reacted the best I could in that situation.”

Mr Bingham died from multiple injuries when he was in collision with a marked South Yorkshire Police vehicle patrol car driven by PC Hazelhurst.

He was pronounced dead at the scene following the crash on Saturday, January 7, at about 6.20pm last year.

Speaking yesterday, his only daughter, Angela Pilkington said her father was a “caring man who lived for his family” and had no mobility or sight problems.

The retired metal worker was walking to Owlerton Greyhound Stadium to celebrate his granddaughter Katie’s 21st birthday when he was struck.

Angela said: “He was a lovely, very kind and caring man. He lived for his family, me and my daughter - his granddaughter.

“He walked everywhere, he never drove. He had no mobility issues and only had glasses to read, he was fine and never complained.

“He was my dad and was always there for me, he was the best dad I could have asked for.”

Witness Daniel Roberts, who was sat in a taxi nearby with friends, previously told the court: "I saw him look to his right and the realisation on his face that there was a vehicle coming towards him.

"The police car came out of nowhere and then was in collision with the gentleman."

Hayley Meek, who was also in the taxi, described how Mr Bingham was "walking casually" until he saw the vehicle approaching and "quickly sped up" before the impact.

They told how Mr Bingham was about halfway across a pedestrian crossing on Penistone Road at the junction with Owlerton Green when he was struck by a police Vauxhall Antara SUV.

Witnesses also told how the traffic lights for vehicles appeared to be on green at the time of the incident but they could not see what colour the lights were for the pedestrian crossing.

There is a 30mph speed limit on the road and all the witnesses described the speed of the vehicle as being normal.

Mr Roberts said of the speed: "It did not seem anything out of the ordinary."

READ MORE: Teenage boy stabbed outside Sheffield pub

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, now called the Independent Office for Police Conduct, launched an investigation following the collision but the findings have not yet been published.

Offering his condolences coroner Chris Dorries said: “I am very sorry for your loss, it's such a cruel way to die on the way to your daughters 21st birthday.”

The inquest continues.