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01 May 2009

PC Jailed Over Schoolgirl's Crash Death

A police officer who caused the death of a teenage girl by dangerous driving, has been jailed for three years.

Hayley Adamson, 16, was killed when she stepped out into the path of PC John Dougal's car in Newcastle's Denton Road on 19 May last year.

Dougal was chasing a suspect car at the time, but did not have his siren or blue lights switched on.

He accelerated at 94mph, in a 30mph zone in his Volvo estate as the teenager crossed the residential road.

A police driving instructor, who gave evidence during the trial, said Dougal, a qualified advanced driver, was travelling so fast he had effectively become a passenger in his own car and had surrendered "to physics".

Miss Adamson, of Cedar Road, Fenham, had been drinking alcohol, which may have affected her decision-making, but the court heard that it was difficult to judge traffic speed, especially at night.

Hayley, dressed in a white tracksuit, was walking with a group of friends at around 11.20pm when she stepped out into Denton Road. It was the night before her English GCSE exam.

After the trial Gary Garland, the North East Commissioner for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said the tragedy "should have been totally avoidable".

He said: "PC John Dougal is a highly trained police driver, yet he chose to take totally unnecessary and unacceptable risks and travel at high speed on a residential road.

"He had no justification whatsoever to drive at such excessive speed.

"Being a highly trained police driver should never be used as licence to take unnecessary risks on public roads."

Dougal, who has since resigned from the force, was also banned from driving for four years.

(JM/BMcC)



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