Cambridgeshire

Cambridge moped death: Police were not 'in pursuit'

Lesley Bello-Hernandez Image copyright Bello-Hernandez family
Image caption Lesley Bello-Hernandez died on Arbury Road in Cambridge in February

A speeding moped driver who hit and killed a grandmother as she crossed a road was not being pursued by police officers, a coroner said.

Drug dealer Jack O'Donnell sped through a red light on Arbury Road, Cambridge, after spotting an unmarked police car.

The evidence was heard at an inquest into the death of Lesley Bello-Hernandez, 67, who died in the crash on 13 February.

Coroner Sean Horstead said the officers "acted entirely appropriately".

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) also concluded that a police pursuit had not taken place.

Image caption The crash happened on a 20mph stretch of Arbury Road

The hearing at Huntingdon Law Courts was told a "four-way carousel" of temporary lights had been set up on Arbury Road, close to the junction with Campkin Road, while red cycle lanes were being added.

The two uniformed officers were on routine patrol and regarded the moped, exceeding the 20mph limit, with a pillion passenger to be "of interest", it was told.

Mr Horstead said O'Donnell was "likely seeking to avoid contact with police" because he was carrying drugs.

The inquest heard O'Donnell then sped through a red light and hit Mrs Bello-Hernandez, who had been making her way across the road at a temporary pedestrian crossing.

PC Christopher McIntosh, who was driving the unmarked car, had radioed the control room to say they were "not even attempting to follow" the moped.

Collision investigator PC Peter Bimson told the court the police car arrived at the crash scene 15 seconds after the collision.

PC McIntosh immediately attended to Mrs Bello-Hernandez, while his colleague PC Mathew Rigaut apprehended O'Donnell at the side of the road, the hearing was told.

Mr Horstead said the officers' reactions to unfolding events were "exemplary".

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Jack O'Donnell had no insurance or licence and was in possession of Class A drugs when he sped away from police

O'Donnell, 25, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was jailed for eight years in April after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

The coroner said Mrs Bello-Hernandez suffered "catastrophic injuries" and gave the cause of her death as a "road traffic collision".

"This loss is both tragic in its lack of reason or sense, and the gap left in the lives of those she left behind," he said.

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