Police officer's first car chase ended in two deaths, inquest told

Oldham Magistrates Court. Picture from Google Maps.

Oldham Magistrates Court. Picture from Google Maps.

First published in News
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The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A POLICE officer who chased a car which crashed and killed both its passengers had never carried out a pursuit before, a court heard.

Jack Francis Christian, aged 22, and 23-year-old Lee James Perris suffered brain haemorrhages and fractured skulls after their silver Volkswagen Polo overturned and hit a tree in Bury Road, Radcliffe, at about 3.30am on December 2, 2012.

An inquest into the deaths of Mr Christian, of Greenside Chase, Bury, and Mr Perris, of Eton Hill Road, Radcliffe, heard how they were pursued by a police officer on patrol because the car's windscreen looked completely frosted over.

Today Oldham Magistrates Court heard how PC David Wilson, a Bury response officer who was trained in police pursuit, noticed the car travelling towards him at 30mph in Wellington Road, Bury.

He activated his emergency lights and sirens, following the car down Manchester Road and onto Radcliffe Road where it disappeared round the bend at “more than 30mph”.

The court heard how PC Wilson’s first attempt to radio Greater Manchester Police to confirm whether or not he had permission to pursue the car did not work.

Seconds later, as the operator asked him if he had pursuit qualifications, he discovered the car upside down outside Newbank Garden Centre with both men trapped inside and suffering horrific injuries.

The chase took less than a minute and PC Wilson was questioned by Glenn Davenport, a family member of Mr Perris, over whether the polo’s obscured windscreen meant it should not have been carried out.

PC Wilson said: “I did not know how much visibility the drivers of the car had. If I had done nothing the car could have collided with taxis or pedestrians.

“If the driver had survived, the scene of the crash could have been a crime scene.”

The inquest, which opened yesterday, earlier heard how Mr Christian and Mr Perris had been drinking cider and had taken cocaine and ecstasy earlier that night.

A post mortem by pathologist Dr Alan Padwell found the amounts of cocaine and ecstasy in Mr Christian’s blood were not enough to kill him but combined with alcohol would have affected his driving.

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