Police chase crash victims named

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The Independent Online

Two people killed when the car they were travelling in crashed during a high speed police pursuit were officially named today.

Christopher Morrison, 23, from Middleton, Manchester, and Cassie Fox, 19, from Monsall, also in Manchester, died along with another man after the Vauxhall Vectra struck a garden wall in Oldham shortly after 3.30am yesterday.

The second man has been named by sources as Paul Bunting.

Another woman in the car survived the crash and was taken to hospital where her condition remains critical.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy said it was thought that the two female passengers were offered a lift from the town centre.

He said: "It would appear that first there were two men in the car and then they offered a lift to the two girls from Oldham town centre and there has been this tragic consequence."

Shortly before the crash, a police patrol tried to stop the car in the town centre, but the driver made off and the pursuit began.

The Vauxhall Vectra reached speeds of up to 80mph before entering Middleton Road, Chadderton, where it struck the corner of the front garden wall of an end of terrace house.

The car hit two other properties and a parked car before eventually coming to a halt after spinning round and flipping upside down.

Mr Fahy defended the actions of the Greater Manchester Police officer involved and said officers were "almost damned if they do in these circumstances and damned if they hadn't".

Footage of the incident was filmed from inside the police car, he said, adding: "The officer had to make a split second decision.

"He has followed the vehicle because it's failed to stop, it reached speeds of up to 80mph but the collision itself can't be seen on the tape because at that point the police car was so far behind.

"So it's an absolutely tragic incident and it shows that when vehicles are asked to stop by police, it's very important that drivers comply with the instructions given."

The incident has been referred by Greater Manchester Police to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Mr Fahy said a "detailed examination" of the crash would be undertaken.

"Having watched the tape, it's an officer on his own in a traffic car. He has driven with safety in mind but has been faced with this difficult decision. As far as I can see from the tape, he absolutely has followed procedure but clearly it's going to be a very detailed examination."