Norfolk

Officer 'reached 80mph' in fatal pursuit in North Walsham

Preston Fulcher Image copyright Norfolk Police
Image caption The teenager was thrown from the car as he was not wearing a seatbelt

A teenager died when his car crashed into a tree while being pursued by police, an inquest has heard.

Preston Fulcher, 19, from North Walsham was described as "drunk but able to walk and talk properly" when he took his brother's car on 26 June 2016.

Norfolk Coroner's Court heard two police officers were on their way to an incident when they noticed the Peugeot driving with no lights on.

A police car followed for 90 seconds reaching 80mph before the fatal crash.

Blue lights flashing

Area coroner Yvonne Blake said the teenager had been drinking until 02:00 with his older brother.

He took the car without his brother's permission and had no insurance or licence to drive it, she said.

The police car was being driven by PC Richard Jeffrey who told the inquest jury he followed the Peugeot with sirens on and blue lights flashing.

PC Jeffrey said he was trying to catch-up with it to alert the driver his car lights were off.

'Followed training'

However, when Mr Fulcher went through a red light he increased his speed to close the distance, driving at 80mph in a 30mph zone.

He said he could not recall how close he was to the vehicle in front.

Asked by the family's lawyer, Sean Horstead, if he was three to four metres behind, he replied: "At those speeds I would not have been that close to the vehicle in front."

Responding to a suggestion by Mr Horstead that the officer should have terminated the pursuit as the risk had escalated, Mr Jeffery said: "I haven't done anything wrong in terms of what I've done and I followed the training."

Mr Fulcher died when the car he was driving crashed into a tree on an unlit road after veering sharply off a bend.

His body was thrown from the car as he was not wearing a seatbelt.

The inquest continues.

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