Family's 'disappointment' over police watchdog findings following death of Sheffield man

Leslie Bingham.Leslie Bingham.
Leslie Bingham.
The family of a man killed by a police car travelling at above the speed limit have expressed their 'disappointment' over the level of punishment handed down to the officer who was driving.

Leslie Bingham, aged 73, was hit by a marked police vehicle while walking across a pedestrian crossing on Penistone Road as he made his way to Owlerton Greyhound Stadium to celebrate his granddaughter Katie's 21st birthday.

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Police officer was 'above speed limit' before fatal crash in Sheffield, inquest ...
The scene of the collision.The scene of the collision.
The scene of the collision.

An inquest heard a police Vauxhall Antara SUV driven by PC Stephen Hazelhurst - which had no blue flashing lights or sirens on as it was not responding to an emergency - was travelling at 41mph in a 30mph zone just prior to the collision.

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct, which investigates incidents and allegations involving police, revealed that they completed their probe in June last year and PC Hazelhurst was brought before a misconduct meeting in December.

He was found to have 'breached the standards of professional behaviour' and was given management advice and ordered to complete a bespoke driver training course.

The IOPC added that the officer was interviewed under criminal caution but chose not to answer any of the questions put to him. A pre-prepared statement was given instead.

A spokesperson also revealed evidence was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service last July but they "made the decision not to bring criminal charges."

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Mr Bingham's daughter Angela Pilkington told how the family feels nobody has been brought to justice over the incident.

She said: "My dad is dead and nothing will bring him back but we feel very disappointed.

"We do feel more action should have been taken."

The IOPC only published a summary of the investigation today. A spokesperson said they will now consider whether to release the full version of the report and an update on this should be due later this week.

Evidence gathered during their investigation included CCTV footage, the accounts of 15 witnesses including a police witness and paramedics, details of the officer's previous driving record, the condition of the police vehicle involved, along with a collision report and reconstruction provided by West Yorkshire Police.

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A jury inquest held at Sheffield Medico Legal Centre yesterday recorded a narrative conclusion.

The jury said the speed of the vehicle plus Mr Bingham's clothing set against the buildings in the background would probably have affected the driver's visibility.

They also described the multiple pedestrian crossings at the scene as "very confusing" and coroner Christopher Dorries said he would now write to Sheffield Council asking them to look at how they are set up.

Angela described her dad as a "loving and caring person" and urged motorists to reduce their speed.

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Miranda Biddle, the IOPC's regional director, expressed sympathy for the family and added: "I’m glad that South Yorkshire Police have taken positive action in response to our report."

A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said today the force did not have anything further to add to the IOPC's findings.

The CPS has been asked for comment and we are waiting for a response.