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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss