Saturday, October 08, 2011

Lazy British cops leave a man to die

And just get "advice" over it

A crash victim's body lay undiscovered beside his car for four days because police couldn't be bothered to get out of their vehicle.

Martin Kent, 23, managed to pull himself free from the vehicle in freezing temperatures after the crash in Aylestone, Leicester, last December. However he was unable to raise the alarm because he had left his broken mobile phone at home.

Incredibly, it took police four days to find the body - despite a lorry driver telling officers he had seen the wreckage of a crash from his elevated cab.

This week, a coroner criticised police for not looking for the father-of-one.

It is unclear whether Mr Kent died from the cold or his injuries, which included severe head wounds, internal bleeding, broken ribs and a fractured jaw.

Amazingly it took the intervention of his own family joining the search to bring it to a close. His body was eventually discovered just a few feet from his car on December 16, four days after the crash on December 12.

In a separate report the Independent Police Complaints Commission said police were alerted to the wreckage on December 13 by a lorry driver who reported seeing a crashed car matching the description of Mr Kent's blue Rover MG, which he could see from the position of his elevated cab.

But when police arrived in a normal squad car they were unable to see what the lorry driver had spotted. Instead of getting out of their vehicle in the cold, they left the scene. The report recommended an officer in the case be disciplined for misconduct.

At the inquest into Mr Kent's death, a coroner criticised police for failing to look for his body.

The hearing, at Leicester Town Hall yesterday, was told that Mr Kent crashed on the Soar Valley Way, near Aylestone, Leicester, after drinking up to seven pints of lager at a pub during the course of the evening.

Mr Kent, who lived in Leicester with his girlfriend and his one-year-old daughter, could not call for help because his phone was at home, having recently broken.

Following the tip-off from the lorry driver, police sent a patrol to search the road on December 13 but the wreck was not visible from their car so they gave up.

The inquest heard that on December 16, Mr Kent's girlfriend and a friend carried out their own search and found debris from the Rover at the road side. A police helicopter was sent to search the area and the car was found at the bottom of a steep bank below Soar Valley Way that evening. Mr Kent's body was found a few feet away from the car.

Describing the crash, PC Michael Hinton, of Leicestershire police collision investigation unit, said: 'Mr Kent remained in the vehicle until it came to rest. A footprint on the roof of the vehicle suggests he extricated himself from the rear of the vehicle.'

PC Hinton said there was no clear reason why Mr Kent would have lost control of the car, apart from his consumption of alcohol, adding that he was probably not wearing his seatbelt at the time.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Catherine Mason said the family would have been spared extra grief if the police had managed to find the car sooner. She said: 'The acts or omissions that were inappropriate by the police caused distress to the family, partner and friends of Mr Kent.'

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Kent's brother Alan said: 'Martin was always happy and outgoing and looked after his family. 'It's really sad because of how young he was and it shows young drivers should wear seatbelts and they shouldn't drink and drive.'

An investigation into police actions after the death of Mr Kent found that the missing person case should have been pursued 'more determinedly'. A Leicestershire police officer, who has not been named, has been disciplined for misconduct following the case.

The main issue in the IPCC's investigation was the police failure to act on the information from the lorry driver on December 13.

The report said: 'The officer (responsible for the missing person case) should have pressed for further information about the sighting and, following a negative search, pursued the sighting more determinedly.'

IPCC commissioner Amerdeep Somal said: 'Some specific actions were not completed sufficiently thoroughly by a police officer in the missing person search. 'Based on the pathologist's view on the probable time of death these shortcomings would not have altered the sad outcome. 'It would appear Mr Kent was likely to have died prior to him being reported missing to police.

'Tests showed the upturned car was only visible from an elevated position which was not afforded to officers in a patrol car and it is understandable, particularly in darkness, that signs of an accident were missed.'

The IPCC sent its report to Leicestershire Police in June this year, stating the officer had a case to answer for misconduct.

Chief Inspector Adam Streets said: 'A misconduct meeting was held in August, 2011, in which misconduct was proven. 'Management advice has now been given to the officer. There was no further learning or recommendations made to us by the IPCC.

'The coroner commented during the inquest that the delay in us finding Mr Kent's body added to the family's distress in this sad case. We are sorry that this happened.'

Original report here

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