Police officer who hit and killed Sheffield pensioner while over speed limit to face no charges due to lack of evidence

Leslie Bingham.
Leslie Bingham.

A police officer who knocked over and killed a pensioner has avoided criminal charges after it was ruled the device that clocked him driving at 42mph in a 30mph zone cannot be used as evidence.

Leslie Bingham, aged 73, was hit by a marked police vehicle while walking across a pedestrian crossing on Penistone Road as he made his way to Owlerton Greyhound Stadium to celebrate his granddaughter Katie's 21st birthday.

The scene of the collision.

The scene of the collision.

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The incident data recorder inside the police Vauxhall Antara SUV driven by PC Steven Hazlehurst suggested he was travelling at a maximum of 42mph in a 30mph zone just prior to the collision.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, now called the Independent Office for Police Conduct, investigated the circumstances and recommended criminal charges should be considered against the officer.

The case was reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service but they concluded he should not face any criminal charges due to lack of evidence.

The police watchdog report into the incident states that IOPC commissioner Carl Gumsley "asked the CPS to consider the offences of causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by driving without due care and attention, driving without due care and attention, and speeding."

But the prosecutor "advised that there was no realistic prospect of conviction for any of the offences."

The report adds: "Critical to the CPS charging decision was that while the incident data recorder fitted to the police car driven by PC Hazlehurst suggested that he had driven at a maximum speed of 42mph, this device was not approved in accordance with s20(4) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

"It could not, therefore, prove to a criminal standard that PC Hazlehurst was exceeding the speed limit, unless corroborated by other evidence.

"The witness accounts did not corroborate that the police car was being driven at excessive speed."

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However, the report reveals PC Hazlehurst 'breached the standards of professional behaviour' and was brought before a misconduct meeting.

He was given management advice and ordered to complete a bespoke driver training course.

Mr Bingham's daughter Angela Pilkington said of the report: "My dad is dead and nothing will bring him back but we feel very disappointed. We do feel more action should have been taken."

A jury inquest held at Sheffield Medico Legal Centre in June recorded a narrative conclusion.

The hearing was told the speed of the vehicle plus Mr Bingham's clothing set against the buildings in the background would probably have affected the driver's visibility.

They also described the multiple pedestrian crossings at the scene as "very confusing" and coroner Christopher Dorries said he would now write to Sheffield Council asking them to look at how they are set up. The authority has vowed to look into the matter.

Mr Bingham, a former metal worker of Malin Bridge, died of multiple injuries at the scene following the collision on Saturday, January 7, at 6.20pm last year.

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The police car did not have blue flashing lights or sirens on as it was not responding to an emergency.

Witnesses told the inquest how the traffic lights for vehicles appeared to be on green at the time of the incident.

Angela described her dad as a "loving and caring person" and urged motorists to reduce their speed.

The CPS has been asked for comment and we are waiting for a response.