A POLICEMAN told an inquest he fell when chasing a man who ran away from a search and was found dead in a canal days later.
PC Michael Henderson said he hit the ground hard about 15 yards after he started to pursue Wayne Hamilton, 25.
The musician, of Albert Road, Heeley, and friend Lewis Trotman were stopped by police on Shirland Lane, Attercliffe, in the early hours of June 10 2010.
Two officers believed they could smell cannabis, a Sheffield jury inquest heard.
Mr Trotman, 23, was searched but Mr Hamilton escaped.
PC Henderson told the jury he pursued and tried to make contact with Mr Hamilton but couldn’t.
He said: “I have either over reached or I hit a pothole or tripped but I have fallen.”
PC Henderson, who cut himself in the fall, said he believed Mr Hamilton had run down Shirland Road, over a bridge and gone right towards Don Valley.
He was found dead in the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal behind Attercliffe tram stop five days later.
Previously the inquest heard from Mr Trotman, who said PC Henderson had sworn and given him a ‘hard time’ after he had fallen. When questioned PC Henderson said he ‘was annoyed’ because he’d fallen and hurt himself, but denied threatening anyone.
His colleague PC Nicola Peplar, said: “He was not overly happy about the fact he’d fallen over.
“However, I encouraged him to see the funny side and I think it was more embarrassment than anything else that he’d fallen and hurt himself.”
She told the inquest she couldn’t recall him using any profanities towards Mr Trotman and she believed Mr Hamilton ran to the left towards the tram stop.
Wayne Hamilton’s mother Bev Hamilton-Di Luci questioned both officers at length about the night.
She asked why Mr Trotman’s car was stopped as the men returned from buying refreshments at the 24 hour Asda supermarket and what happened as he was searched.
She said there were ‘conflicting’ accounts as PC Peplar had said she also ran after Mr Hamilton. Mr Trotman had said she stayed with the car.
The jury heard Mr Hamilton seemed a ‘bit surprised’ to be searched but was amicable.
The inquest continues.