Norfolk

Helen Loveday's police van death 'accidental'

Scene of accident where woman was struck by a police van Image copyright Joe Giddens/PA
Image caption Helen Loveday was struck by the police van while walking along Wymondham Road in Hethel

Police call handlers have been given extra training following the death of woman who was struck by a police van.

Helen Loveday, 52, was hit in Wymondham Road in Hethel, Norfolk in July last year, after walking out of her sister's house in distress.

She died two days later. An inquest jury concluded on Thursday her death was an accident and said officers were unaware of a call from a motorist.

After the hearing, Norfolk Police said it was an "unavoidable" accident.

Brain injury

The mother-of-three had been visiting her sister Rachel Hurn in Wreningham that evening and had shared "about a bottle and a quarter of rose wine", the inquest in Norwich heard.

Ms Loveday, of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, "said something about killing herself" and left the house at about 22:20 BST, prompting her sister to call 999.

She had health problems affecting her mobility, suffered anxiety and had told her sister she had a "split personality disorder".

The jury gave her primary cause of death as traumatic brain injury, followed by road traffic collision and depression.

'Misconduct'

It also said in a statement of the evidence that police units were not aware of a phone call made by a member of the public "giving exact details of her [Ms Loveday's] location".

The inquest had heard Wymondham Road was long and unlit.

Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said she would not be making any reports as a result of the case and she was satisfied action had been taken.

After the inquest, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had concluded a call operator "may not have complied with force policy", which could constitute misconduct, and a second call handler's performance could be considered unsatisfactory.

Norfolk Police said collision investigators had concluded the accident was "unavoidable".

"The two officers responding to the 999 call found themselves in the most inconceivable of situations; involved in the death of someone they were trying to help.

"The investigation highlighted issues surrounding information sharing practices within the control room.

"These were acted on immediately, with additional training put in place to ensure calls are recorded appropriately."

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