Apology after Leicestershire police 'miss' body

Scene of accident Mr Kent's body was found in a ditch in Soar Valley Way in Leicestershire on 16 December 2010

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A coroner has criticised Leicestershire police after the body of a motorist lay undiscovered in his car for three days.

Martin Kent, 24, of Newfoundpool, crashed his car in a ditch but his body was not found despite searches and a tip-off from a lorry driver.

The Leicestershire coroner ruled that Mr Kent's death in December 2010 was accidental.

Leicestershire Police apologised to the family for the distress caused by the delay in finding his body.

Steep bank

Coroner Catherine Mason, who said the case was "tragic", was told Mr Kent had left the crashed vehicle and crawled about 10 metres before he died - up to six hours later.

She said "acts or omissions" by the police led to further distress for the family, but added his death would not have been prevented.

Leicestershire chief inspector Adam Streets said: "We understand that this must be an extremely difficult time for Mr Kent's family.

"The independent investigation found that one officer had a case to answer for misconduct in relation to not updating our missing-from-home system and in relation to inquiries surrounding the reporting of Mr Kent's car being sighted."

A post-mortem investigation said he had died of multiple injuries with the pathologist stating that it was "very unlikely he could have survived overnight in sub-zero temperatures".

Mr Kent's partner reported to police that a lorry driver had seen an overturned car off Soar Valley Way several days before it was discovered.

Police eventually found Mr Kent's car upside down in some dense undergrowth down a steep bank off the dual carriageway.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the upturned car was only visible from "an elevated position not afforded officers in a patrol car".

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