Police officer will not face criminal charges after pensioner dies in BMW crash

A police officer whose unmarked BMW police car struck and killed a pensioner will not face criminal charges.

The officer will now face an internal disciplinary hearing in relation to the ‘manner of his driving’ it has been confirmed.

Leslie Wakefield, 80, was hit by the BMW as he crossed Warrington Road in Warrington at around 7.30pm on February 3, 2020.

Mr Wakefield, who lived nearby, died at the scene.

The fatal incident was referred by Cheshire Police to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), who automatically enquire into all deaths involving officers.

The driver of the unmarked police car was later placed on restricted duties amid ongoing enquiries into potential gross misconduct.

The IOPC concluded their investigation into the accident last year and sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service and a copy of their report to Cheshire Police.

The IOPC has now confirmed that the officer will not face criminal charges in relation to the fatal incident.

However the officer will face an internal disciplinary hearing into gross misconduct.

A spokeperson for the IOPC said: “Our deepest sympathies remain with Mr Wakefield’s family following his tragic death.

“Our investigation into the incident in which Mr Wakefield died after being hit by an unmarked police car in Penketh, Warrington concluded in January 2021.

“We found the driver of the vehicle had a case to answer for gross misconduct relating to their manner of driving. It is now for Cheshire Constabulary to arrange that police disciplinary hearing which will determine the outcome. We also passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service following our investigation to consider any criminal charges. The CPS confirmed it would not pursue a prosecution.

“Evidence gathered during our investigation has also been shared with the coroner and will inform the inquest into Mr Wakefield’s death, hopefully helping to answer any outstanding questions his family may have.”

A spokesperson for Cheshire Police said: “Following the incident on Monday 3 February 2020 Cheshire Constabulary referred this case to the Independent office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

“The IOPC carried out an independent investigation and has since concluded that the officer involved should face a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct.

“The IOPC also passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider any criminal charges.

“Whilst this was being progressed we were unable to set a date for the conduct hearing.

“The CPS recently confirmed it would not pursue a prosecution and we are in the process of arranging the disciplinary hearing. It would be inappropriate for the force to comment further at this stage until the disciplinary hearing has taken place.

“Our thoughts remain with Mr Wakefield’s family during this difficult time.”

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