Pc cleared over student death crash

 

A police officer was today cleared of causing the death by
careless driving of a 19-year-old student who died after being hit by a
patrol car.

Pc Rodney Craig Mills, 42, was driving at nearly twice the speed limit without his lights or sirens when he was in collision with Jamie Haslett, who ran across the road in front of the car.

Pc Mills, of Owlthorpe Rise, Mosborough, Sheffield, said he was responding to a call he had classed as an emergency in the early hours of the morning and did not expect anyone to run out in front of him.

A jury at Bradford Crown Court took four hours to find the officer not guilty of one count of causing death by dangerous driving.

The week-long trial heard that Mr Haslett, who was three times over the drink-drive limit, was returning to his student accommodation in Sheffield at around 3.45am on October 27 following a night out.

At the junction of Broad Lane and Mappin Street, the Sheffield Hallam University student began to run across the road to get to the other side.

The court heard that "experienced" South Yorkshire Police officer Pc Mills and his colleague Pc Liam Stewart were returning to a police station to get equipment before responding to a call.

The call had been classed as "priority", meaning it needed to be responded to within one hour, but Pc Mills told the court he classed the call as an emergency and needed to get there "urgently".

He said he had considered the potential risks of travelling to the scene at speed.

But he said the car's flashing lights could blind other drivers and using the sirens in the early hours was not always necessary and could lead to complaints.

The jury was told that one second and 26 metres before the collision, Pc Mills was travelling at 58mph in a 30mph zone.

The officer did not see Mr Haslett until less than a second before the impact and said he had not expected anyone to run out in front of him "very fast".

In a statement, read to the court, Pc Mills told officers how the incident happened.

"Pc Stewart started to move forward, then shouted 'Craig!'.

"Almost immediately I saw a figure appearing from right to left. The figure appeared to be running at a diagonal line in the sprinting position.

"I immediately applied the brake but collided with him."

Mr Haslett died at the scene from head injuries after being forced on to the bonnet of the car, hitting the windscreen and being thrown "a considerable distance" into the air.

Pc Mills stopped and went to Mr Haslett, who was from the Isle of Man, after the collision but there was nothing he could do.

Judge Colin Burn praised the family of Mr Haslett for the "tremendous dignity" they had shown throughout the trial.

Speaking after the verdict, Inspector Philip Shaw, of South Yorkshire Police, who was in court to support Pc Mills, said: "It's obviously a relief that the trial is over but it's not a day for celebration.

"A young man lost his life and our thoughts are with his family at this time."

He added: "It was a tragic accident."

When asked how Pc Mills felt at the not guilty verdict, Insp Shaw replied: "I should imagine relief that he can put it behind him and start to rebuild his career and his life."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent