Late at night on 19 May 2008, 19 year old Hayley Adamson was crossing a 30mph zoned road within a heavily residential area. She wore a white tracksuit and would have been visible to any motorist out that night. A speeding police car driven by PC Dougal appeared out of nowhere, travelling at 94 miles per hour. It ploughed into Hayley and killed her outright.
Two police cars were in pursuit of a stolen car but did not have any blue lights flashing or sirens blaring as they attempted to catch up with their quarry. There were claims the vehicles did not even have their headlights switched on, though this was not verified.
In what transpires to be a huge insult to Hayley’s memory, it turns out the car in pursuit was not even stolen. It was being driven normally – because it had been bought legally. The officers had not even caught up with it when they killed Hayley.
The Code of Practice for Police Drivers says “You should not travel at high speed without using the siren and blue lights unless there are special reasons for not using them – in which case you will need to consider whether it is safe to travel at high speed at all”. Clearly PC John Dougal thought otherwise.
The death occurred on the A191 Denton Road in Newcastle’s Scottwood, at the junction with Dorset Road There is a hill preceding the junction hence any vehicle travelling at close to 100mph would be barely have been spotted before it had reached the Dorset Road junction. The incident shockingly took place almost right outside Hayley’s sister’s home.
Hayley was thrown around 30 feet and suffered horrific head injuries, which were “unsurvivable.” Witnesses suggest the police officers did not check the body for at least 20 minutes. A number of witnesses said they heard PC Dougal say “It’s my fault.”
Investigations found any car travelling at 30mph would have been able to stop within the sighted distance as it came over the brow of the hill. At speeds of 94 mph it was clearly impossible. Despite PC Dougal severely braking it is estimated his patrol car hit Hayley at a speed of at least 70mph.
What is most unsettling is how police viewed the unfortunate deceased and her community. Witnesses said that the officers who attended the crash scene were rude, aggressive and swore at people with one officer claiming the death meant one less ‘scumbag’ off the streets.
Tempers flared and riots ensured soon after in the close knit community in this part of Newcastle. Police managed to quell the emergent riots and calm the community. Ironically Hayley’s boyfriend was tasered and arrested as part of the police’s efforts.
During the court hearing in April 2009 against PC Dougal, a police officer (named by media as Sgt Lynne McKevitt) was heard tutting whenever the court proceedings mentioned Hayley’s name. Both she and the ‘scumbag’ claim officer were not reprimanded despite the police force’s assurances they would be.
PC John Dougal was found guilty and jailed for three years (the minimum for such crimes is four.) Further anger ensued. Hayley’s sister Sarah Ridley said “It means that any police officer can go out and kill someone and know that they will only do 18 months behind bars….The week she was killed somebody else was given eight years for killing a policeman. It’s one rule for them and another rule for us.”
In what amounts to a final insult against Hayley Adamson, Northumbria Police took it that they should nominate themselves for an award for having managed to quell the pending riots. The force won the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Pride Awards 2009. The CIPR thought Northumbria Police had “diffused the issue in a calm and responsible manner.” Indeed. Tasering the boyfriend of a lass who’s just been killed by one of Northumbria’s officers has to be ‘calm and responsible’!
The news of the awards were revealed on the day of Hayley’s birthday. Many people were outraged by this cycnical ploy.
Hayley’s devastated mum Yvonne branded police chiefs who applied for it “sick”. (Star)
Hayley’s distressed sister Sarah Ridley, said: ‘It makes me sick. Hayley is killed and they get an award for it. (Mail)
Ultimately Northumbria Police asked CIPR to remove the details of its winning entry.
The moral of the story? Police have no real integrity especially when they make a mess of things. Trying to make themselves look good just makes things far worse.