Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Police pursuit before fatal crash near Canterbury was carried out appropriately

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into a crash in which two women died in Womenswold near Canterbury concluded that a police pursuit beforehand was carried out appropriately.

Lucy Leadbeater, aged 27, was driving a Toyota Yaris when it collided with a tree killing herself and front seat passenger Cassey Hood aged 18. Two men who were sitting in the back of the Yaris suffered serious injuries

The Yaris was being pursued by officers from Kent Police at the time of the collision on Friday, 14 September 2018.

Kent Police made a mandatory referral and we began our independent investigation during which we obtained statements from the officers involved, their body worn video footage was examined and the vehicle journey data recorder was downloaded and analysed.

We concluded our investigation in March 2019, when we passed a copy of our findings to the women’s families and Kent Police. All police officers were treated as witnesses during the course of our investigation which explored the circumstances leading up to the collision.

The police van followed the Yaris after officers spotted it driving at speed near Canterbury Police Station. The driver of the Yaris pulled in to a layby just off the A2 and the police van pulled alongside. Officers were getting out of the police van when Ms Leadbeater drove off and the van followed, activating its lights and sirens, requesting pursuit authorisation. Officers then found the Toyota Yaris had crashed in Nethersole Road.

IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green yesterday said:

“My sympathies remain with all of those affected by this tragic event in which two young women lost their lives. It was important that we examined all of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“Our investigation found it was only 73 seconds from when the Yaris drove off from the layby to when it crashed. The collision was not captured on the officer’s body worn video. We shared a copy of our report and findings with the Coroner, the police and the families.”

An inquest held at Maidstone Archbishop’s Palace on Monday, 13 January, determined that Miss Hood and Miss Leadbeater died as a result of a road traffic incident.


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