Fatal Road Accident

The grieving parents of a young woman who was killed by a speeding police van only hours after she announced her engagement have welcomed Cleveland Police’s admission of liability, but say the police now need to come clean about the failures that led to her death.

The Cleveland Police admitted they were at fault for the death of Aimee Welsh, 25, after her parents took a civil case against them with the support of her dad David’s union, Unite.

Aimee was fatally injured on the evening of October 18, 2008 while travelling in the car with her new fiancé, Anthony Theakston. The two had just been telling family about their plans to marry in the summer and buy a house together.

As the couple approached a corner near the Newport Bridge in Middlesbrough their car was hit by a police van driving at twice the legal speed limit on its way to an emergency. The weather was poor and the officer had lost control of the vehicle while rounding the bend. It was later found that one of his tyres was dangerously under-inflated.

Serious Injuries caused by Accident

Aimee suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident and passed away in hospital a month later.

Her parents took the civil case against the Cleveland Police after the officer behind the wheel, PC Hart, was acquitted of criminal charges over two trials that revealed serious failings by the Cleveland Police.

Diane Davison from Thompsons Solicitors, who represented the family, says: “Although the Police are allowed to exceed the speed limit when attending emergencies they still have to drive safely for the road conditions. The officer here lost control of his vehicle driving at speed around a bend while it was raining, and in a vehicle that had not been properly maintained. It was an accident waiting to happen”.

Police have admitted liability

But while the Police have admitted liability for the accident they continue to refuse to release information about the failures that led to it.

Aimee’s father, David Welsh, says his family deserves to know the truth.

“We’re obviously pleased that the Police have admitted liability, but we don’t see how they can just admit they were at fault and then refuse to explain why.

“We have a right to know how the police allowed this to happen and that the failures that caused Aimee’s death have been properly addressed.

“No one else should have to lose a child the way we have, even two years after the accident every day without Aimee is hard. If we’re going to get some closure then we need some answers.

The Coroner has stated that there will be no official inquiry into Aimee Welsh’s death.

This news story was also published by The Northern Echo.