Police officer was 'above speed limit' before fatal crash in Sheffield, inquest told

Leslie Bingham. Picture credit: Family handout/PA Wire
Leslie Bingham. Picture credit: Family handout/PA Wire

A police officer who was recorded at more than 10mph over the speed limit when his car hit a pensioner has told an inquest there was "absolutely nothing that I could do".

Leslie Bingham, 73, died from multiple injuries when he was in collision with a marked police Vauxhall Antara 4x4 car as he crossed the A61 Penistone Road in Sheffield on January 7 last year.

The retired metal worker was heading for his granddaughter's 21st birthday party at the greyhound stadium on the other side of the road when the incident happened on a pedestrian crossing, an inquest jury heard.

Sheffield Coroner's Court has been told how the "black box" in the patrol car recorded its speed at about 41mph when the driver, Pc Steven Hazelhurst, began to brake.

The speed limit on the dual carriageway is 30mph.

PC Hazelhurst told the jury how he had just bought a coffee from a nearby McDonald's restaurant and was heading for a "very routine appointment" with a colleague in the passenger seat.

He said: "I was in no rush to get anywhere," and added: "It was an every day drive."

Asked to describe the collision, he said: "It was a split second."

PC Hazelhurst said: "What I saw was more of a blur."

He said: "I just saw something moving quickly across the lane towards the outside lane.

"I couldn't tell you he was running but it was a split second and my perception was that he was moving quickly.

"At the moment I saw him there was absolutely nothing I could do."

The officer told the court: "I reacted the best I could possibly react in that situation."

Asked by the coroner if he had the coffee that he bought at McDonald's in his hand at the moment he saw the pedestrian, he said: "No, I did not sir."

PC Hazelhurst said he was not constantly looking at the speedometer on the car, and said: "I was driving at what I thought was on or around the speed limit and what was reasonable for the road."

The jury has heard that the police car was not on an emergency call and was not using its sirens and blue lights.

Mr Bingham's daughter, Angela Pilkington, told the jury her father "lived for his family".

She said: "He was just a lovely dad and granddad. All he cared about was us."

Ms Pilkington added: "He was very sprightly for his age. He wasn't a doddery old man or anything."

The jury was sent out to consider its conclusions this afternoon.

It was later sent home for the night and will continue its deliberations tomorrow.