Steven Brown police pursuit death accidental, coroner finds

Steven Brown
Image caption Mr Brown's mother, Linda Balkwill, said her son was "a good lad"

The death of a young driver who crashed during a pursuit by Dorset Police was an accident, a coroner has found.

Steven Brown, 18, of Verwood, died when the VW Golf he was driving crashed near Three Legged Cross in December 2011.

An inquest in Bournemouth heard police began following the teenager's car after receiving reports it had been driven from a petrol station without the occupant paying for fuel.

Dorset Police told the inquest it was "not a perfect police pursuit".

Mr Brown's high-powered Golf VR6 reached speeds of about 120mph (190km/h) during the pursuit and the inquest heard the following police car was some distance behind.

'Good lad'

He died from severe head injuries.

In a statement after the inquest at Bournemouth Coroner's Court, Mr Brown's mother, Linda Balkwill, said her son was "a good lad".

"He'd never been in trouble before, and unfortunately cannot look back and learn from this," she said.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report found the two officers who pursued the car did not break guidelines.

However, it ruled that one of the control room operators was not in control of the pursuit, as that person had not been properly trained.

Assistant Chief Constable James Vaughan told the inquest the officers involved had behaved correctly, but the control room operator had failed to carry out a full eight-point risk assessment.

The force said control room staff were being given extra training.

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