Berkshire

Aston McLean Williams death: Officer made 'instant' decision

Aston McLean from Reading Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Aston McLean Williams was chased by police who were responding to a burglary in Reading

The driver of a police response vehicle which knocked down and killed a man running from a burglary said he decided to drive after him "in an instant".

Aston McLean Williams died in Wokingham Road, Reading, after being hit by the car in the early hours of August 2014.

The officer, known only as "N", told a hearing that he had not been driving dangerously.

Two police officers are facing a misconduct hearing accused of gross misconduct.

Police said father-of-two Mr Williams, 28, was one of two men suspected of trying to break into a bike shop in Eastern Avenue with a hammer and axe.

Later Mr Williams was seen being restrained with pepper spray by an constable known as "P", shortly before being hit by a marked police car driven by constable "N", a meeting live-streamed to Ascot Police Station heard.

Describing the initial situation, "N" said: "There's this noise - a scuffle, some shouting... [it] may have involved the subject using these weapons and I saw the subject running away with an officer in pursuit."

Image caption Mr Williams died in August 2014 after being hit by a police car in Wokingham Road

Mr Williams had been running on the pavement and he had been driving on the opposite side of the road, he explained.

"There was a sudden change in the subject's direction towards my vehicle.

"Someone was coming into my peripheral vision and I began to apply the foot brake. I also steered sharply left.

"There was a blur of movement where I saw a figure begin to fall."

Asked if he had driven dangerously, he replied: "No."

His response prompted gasps from Mr Williams's family, with one calling out "you killed him".

The officer told the hearing that he lost sight of him briefly because a police car blocked his view.

But he described the situation as "fluid" and that he was driving to minimise the risk to fellow officers and the public.

He admitted using a similar manoeuvre on previous occasions.

The hearing continues.

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