Officers ‘acted appropriately’ during pursuit after pedestrian killed in car crash

An investigation into a fatal car crash in which a pedestrian was killed in London has found that Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers “acted appropriately” when they followed a vehicle that had failed to stop when requested.

May 25, 2023
By Paul Jacques

Ronald McArthur, aged 74, died from his injuries following the incident, which took place on April 2, 2019, in King’s Cross.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it began an investigation that month following a mandatory referral from the force, after officers tried to stop the driver of a Kia Stinger that was suspected of being used in a robbery.

After a marked police car and marked police van tried unsuccessfully to stop it, the police car then continued along York Way behind the suspect vehicle, the IOPC said.

It added: “The marked van and an unmarked police car followed behind it.

“Shortly afterwards, the driver of the Kia car overshot a turning into Copenhagen Street at about 5.30pm and collided with a traffic light post and Mr McArthur, who was walking on the footpath.

“Officers performed first aid and Mr McArthur was taken to hospital where, sadly, he died the next day”.

An inquest into his death concluded on Wednesday (May 24) at Bow Coroner’s Court and the jury returned a conclusion of death by unlawful killing.

“We looked at whether the decision to pursue the car was reasonable and necessary in the circumstances; if correct policies and procedures were followed during the pursuit; and whether officers’ actions during the pursuit caused or contributed to Mr McArthur’s death,” said the IOPC.

“We found no indication that any officers involved behaved in a way that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence.”

IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe said: “Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Mr McArthur as well as all those affected by this deeply distressing incident.

“Our investigation was thorough and carried out independently of the police. We found the actions of the officers, who were suitably trained and in an appropriate vehicle, were in line with their training and relevant policies and their decision to follow the driver of the vehicle was reasonable in the circumstances.”

She said they did look at one officer who was response trained but not pursuit-trained.

His driving could have been interpreted as a pursuit, rather than a ‘follow’ of the Kia, but the IOPC decided “this part of the whole incident was extremely brief and that there was insufficient evidence upon which a reasonable tribunal properly directed could find misconduct”.

“The officer drove past stationary traffic and through traffic lights, to keep sight of the car. There was no indication the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, or intentionally alert it to police presence,” the IOPC said.

During its investigation, which concluded in March 2020, the IOPC said it reviewed a large of volume of evidence, including audio of radio transmissions relating to the incident, CCTV footage captured immediately prior to and during the collision, incident reports, and forensic collision data.

Statements from eyewitnesses along with witness statements provided by the MPS officers involved were also reviewed, and one officer was interviewed under misconduct caution.

The IOPC said the criminal investigation into the suspected robbery was dropped.

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