Bradford crash inquest: Four young men killed in 2018 collision after police pursuit in car driven by disqualified 21-year-old who had taken drugs

A police driver has told an coroner his pursuit of a speeding car was “justified and proportionate” moments before it crashed into a tree in Bradford, leaving four young men dead.

The aftermath of the crash in Bradford in 2018

PC Robert Hoyle, of West Yorkshire Police, said he reached speeds of 100mph as he followed a grey BMW through Bradford for just over a minute before the crash in August 2018, but did not get close to it.

Driver Murtza Chaudhry, 21, and passengers Arbaaz Hussain, 21, Zeeshan Khalid, 20 and Tayyab Siddique, 22, all died in the crash with a tree, which was described by one witness as “like a bomb had gone off”.

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A virtual inquest in Bradford on Monday heard that Mr Chaudhry had drunk more than twice the legal alcohol limit and taken cocaine and cannabis and two of the passengers also had alcohol in their bloodstreams.

Joint Islamic funerals were held for the four young men

Giving evidence, PC Hoyle said about one minute and five seconds elapsed between him and his colleague in the passenger seat spotting the BMW and the crash.

He said they followed the car in their unmarked BMW but never managed to close the gap and never got within half a mile of the car they were following.

The officer said: “The BMW did not slow down. In fact, it probably accelerated. At one point I was travelling at 100mph and it was still ahead.”

Responding to questions from senior coroner Martin Fleming, PC Hoyle said the pursuit was so short there was no time to get authorisation from his control supervisor nor to conduct a “dynamic risk assessment”.

When the coroner asked him whether he thought the pursuit was “justified and proportionate”, the officer said: “I believed at that time it was, yes.”

He told the inquest: “He knew we were there and he had a requirement to stop, which he didn’t.”

PC Hoyle said he had been patrolling the streets of Bradford for 27 years.

He explained how the grey BMW attracted their attention because it was travelling at speed, crossing the central white line and going the wrong side of a bollard.

In a statement read in court, toxicologist Elizabeth Fox said tests showed Mr Chaudhry was found to have alcohol in his blood at a level of 176 micrograms per 100 millilitres. The legal limit is 80. She said he had also taken cocaine and cannabis.

In another statement, witness Usma Khan, who lives nearby, said: “It sounded like a bomb had gone off, it was so loud.”

He said he saw police officers around the wrecked car and one was repeatedly shouting “find the ‘expletive’ drugs”.

Detective Sergeant Fiona Allen told the inquest that an axe was found near the car but could not be linked to any of the occupants. She said another axe was found in a footwell and a knuckle duster was on the rear seat. The detective said small amounts of cocaine and cannabis were also found.

She confirmed Chaudhry was banned from driving due to a drink-drive conviction at the time of the crash. The car was uninsured and had been purchased with cash given to him by his mother six weeks previously.