Sheffield family issues road safety plea after pensioner is killed by police car going above speed limit

A heartbroken daughter is calling for motorists to slow down on a busy road after an inquest heard her dad was killed by a police car travelling above the speed limit.

Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 2:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 5:49 pm
Leslie Bingham.

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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The scene of the collision.

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An inquest heard the car - which had no 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.

Concern was also raised about the 'confusing' positions of pedestrian crossings at the site.

After the hearing, Mr Bingham's daughter Angela Pilkington urged drivers to slow their speed and called for the authorities to make it clearer which crossing pedestrians should use - otherwise there could be another fatal crash.

She said: "What should have been a tremendous family celebration turned to heartbreak. That night changed our family forever. Dad was such a loving and caring person who lived for his family.

"Our only hope now is that dad's death acts as a warning to other drivers, whether police officers or not, about the consequences of travelling above the speed limit.

"We urge South Yorkshire Police to now consider the findings of the investigations and take the appropriate action to help promote the need for road safety at all times so other families don't have to suffer the heartbreak we have since dad's death."

The inquest heard how the retired metal worker was struck by a police Vauxhall Antara SUV while he was part way across a pedestrian crossing on Penistone Road at the junction with Owlerton Green on Saturday, January 7, at 6.20pm, last year. He died at the scene from multiple injuries.

Police constable Stephen Hazelhurst, who was behind the wheel, told an earlier hearing he was travelling at a speed he perceived to be safe for the road despite the cars' black box recording that he was doing 41mph.

He described how Mr Bingham "looked like a blur" at first and he "wasn't sure what he was."

The officer said "the moment I saw him I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do" but claimed he reacted the best he could.

The inquest heard the traffic lights were on green for vehicles but concern was raised about the position of crossing signals for pedestrians.

Recording a narrative conclusion, the jury said that the speed of the vehicle plus Mr Bingham's clothing set against the buildings in the background would have affected the driver's visibility.

They also described the road network as "very confusing due to the multiple crossings."

Coroner Christopher Dorries said he would now write to Sheffield Council asking them to consider the position of the pedestrian crossings and if they need to be changed.

Angela said afterwards she was "pleased" the coroner had written to the authority as she is "concerned a crash could happen again" unless action is taken.

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, launched an investigation and said the findings would be available after the inquest concluded.

We have asked the IOPC for the report and are waiting for a response. South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield Council has also been contacted for comment.