Sussex

Brighton police officer drove 'excessively fast' before fatal crash

Eastern Road Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption PC Harris is alleged to have driven "too fast" along Eastern Road in Brighton

A police officer's "excessively fast and unsafe driving" led to a fatal crash, a disciplinary panel has heard.

PC Richard Harris was driving a marked police car in August 2017 when he struck 79-year-old pedestrian David Ormesher, who died an hour later.

It is alleged the serving Sussex Police officer had been "driving too fast, with insufficient planning for the actions of other road users".

PC Harris denies gross misconduct and the hearing continues.

He was driving at between 53 and 55 mph when he hit the pensioner while responding to an emergency call, the panel heard.

It is alleged he had reached speeds of up to 70mph shortly before the crash.

James Berry, representing Sussex Police, said PC Harris was "driving too fast, with insufficient planning for the actions of other road users, and his excessively fast and unsafe driving resulted in him colliding at speed with Mr Ormesher".

PC Samantha Cooper, who was a passenger in the police car when it struck Mr Ormesher, told the panel that her colleague's driving had been "faultless".

"I could have made a cup of tea in the car, that's how safe PC Harris was driving," she added.

She said PC Harris had been treated "appallingly" throughout the criminal and disciplinary investigations.

"I think it's disgusting", she said.

A criminal investigation has closed and PC Harris will not face charges, the panel heard.

The hearing, which is being held at the offices of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner at Sackville House in Lewes, is expected to last five days.

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