Police pursuits ‘horrible’, officer tells inquest into teenager’s death

A police officer who was driving a car which fatally injured a teenager when the prolific offender got out of his moving car has told an inquest that carrying out such pursuits was “horrible”.

Disqualified driver Kelvin Bainbridge, 19, was one of County Durham’s most wanted criminals when he was spotted behind the wheel of a Nissan Primera in October 2019, along with four passengers including his mother and his pregnant partner.

He died following a six-minute pursuit through Spennymoor when he tried to exit his car while it was still moving and suffered blunt head injury when he was struck by the front valance of a marked police BMW driven by Pc Paul Jackson.

The officer told an inquest in Crook, County Durham: “It’s horrible being involved in a pursuit.

“It’s a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, all you want them to do is stop.

“You are constantly thinking, ‘do I stop, do I keep going?’

“I made all the right calls.”

Pc Jackson, who was a tactically trained driver and firearms officer, told coroner Crispin Oliver he had been involved in “hundreds” of pursuits during his police career.

But he has not been involved in one since the fatality almost four years ago, explaining he is no longer in a “front-facing” role.

Pc Jackson, who now trains new recruits, said he manoeuvred his marked police BMW alongside the Nissan Primera in the final seconds of the pursuit to block off an alleyway he believed Mr Bainbridge may use to get away on foot.

The officer said it “did not even enter” his head that Mr Bainbridge might decamp from his car while it was still moving.

The coroner asked the officer if he felt it was a “safe” decision to use his car to block the escape route.

Pc Jackson said: “I felt it was proportionate.

“(I used the car) to block off an escape route, it was nothing more than that.”

The inquest has previously heard the teenager’s mother Suzanne claim that her son believed Pc Jackson had a “vendetta” against him.

The officer appeared emotional when he replied: “I had no vendetta against Kelvin Bainbridge.”

Pc Jackson said Mr Bainbridge figured no higher in his professional life than any of the other wanted person.

He had no recollection of an alleged incident in which he apprehended Mr Bainbridge outside a court in 2017, saying: “I arrest somewhere between 80 and 100 people a year and detain around the same number, you don’t recall every interaction you have with someone.”

The inquest continues.