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Met Police pursuit death review collapses after delays

A misconduct hearing against two police officers over the fatal pursuit of a teenager has collapsed because of "unprecedented" delays in the case.

Liam Albert, 17, died in July 2009 when the car he was driving crashed as it was being followed by officers.

Met Police officers PC John Wills and Insp Mandy Chamberlain were accused of gross misconduct.

But a disciplinary panel ruled the pair could not get a fair hearing because too much time had elapsed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which conducted the investigation, has apologised to Mr Albert's family.

'Longest delay'

Lawyers acting for the officers claimed relevant witnesses had died and the "meat of the case" rested on recalling a small window of time lasting about five minutes.

Mr Albert's vehicle was involved in a collision in Esher after the chase began in Merton.

A Metropolitan Police misconduct hearing heard that all evidence against the officers was available by December 2009.

Insp Chamberlain, who was accused of trying to delete photographic evidence and withholding evidence, was given notice she was under investigation in January 2014.

This appears to be the longest delay in the history of misconduct hearings, Hugh Davies, counsel for Insp Chamberlain, said.

'Tragic loss'

PC Wills was accused of failing to put a videotape in the car's camera system, failing to properly report the pursuit and removing evidence from the collision scene without authority.

In a statement the IPCC said it "recognised" the process had "taken far too long".

"Since this investigation concluded, the IPCC has undergone a substantial change programme and has made significant improvements in the way we work to prevent similar delays occurring" the IPCC said.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin said: "Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Liam's family for their tragic loss."

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