An off-duty Sheffield police officer facing an IPCC investigation over the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal was killed after being hit by a car driven by a university student who knew him.
Hassan Ali was fatally injured as he crossed Staniforth Road in Darnall, Sheffield, on the night of January 28, 2015 - the same day he had been told he was being put on restricted duties in relation to the Rotherham abuse scandal.
The jury heard PC Ali had been looking straight ahead rather than at the approaching car when he was hit.
PC Ali, aged 44, never regained consciousness and died in hospital on February 6.
A jury at Sheffield Crown Court today found 23-year-old Waqas Khan, of Balfour Road, Darnall, not guilty of causing his death by careless driving following a three-day trial.
The jury was not told that PC Ali was a police officer or any of the details of the allegations that had been made against him.
The court did hear that Khan had been going around 20mph and had ‘drifted’ into the centre of the road as he looked to the right at an upcoming junction during snowy conditions.
After he hit PC Ali and got out of his car, he realised he knew the victim as the uncle of his best friend.
The court was also told Khan recognised PC Ali as a ‘community elder’ who he called ‘Uncle’ but was not related to.
Before the jury returned their verdict on Friday, Khan, an accounting and financial management student at Sheffield University, said he had been trying to be ‘extra careful’ as he drove home in snowy weather from revising at university for an exam the following day.
A witness said PC Ali had been looking straight across the road as he walked across the street before being hit by the car, having just come out of Mirza’s Spices takeaway where he had been with a friend and a relative.
In a statement read to court, PC Ali’s friend Mohamed Yunis said he had shared a joke with Ali before his friend started crossing the road and was then hit.
Khan told the court said he put his brakes on, flung open his car door and ran to the injured man, realising at that point he knew who the pedestrian was. Khan said he held Mr Ali in his arms as he waited for an ambulance to arrive.
In his closing remarks to the jury, Nadim Bashir, representing Khan, told the jury: “If he could turn the clock back, I’m sure he would turn the clock back. This will be with him for all his life.
“You can’t fault him for taking extra care given his inexperience.
“There are such things in life as accidents.”
Khan appeared emotional as he left the dock after being found not guilty by the jury following more then five hours of deliberations.
It can now be reported that in a separate trial at Sheffield Crown Court last year into a Rotherham child grooming ring, the court was told PC Ali had been served with a duties restriction notice in connection with complaints about his conduct.
The trial was told PC Ali had allegedly been involved in a ‘no prosecution’ deal for abuse ringleader Arshid Hussain in relation to a missing underage teenage girl.
He was said to have been involved in arranging for Hussain, jailed for 35 years at the end of the trial for a string of child sexual exploitation offences, to hand over the girl to police at a petrol station in exchange for not being arrested.
The jury found Hussain guilty of an abduction charge after the victim described the incident in court.
Agreed facts given to the jury said PC Ali, who was based at Rotherham police station, was under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to five complaints made against him, three by the now-adult victim involved in the trial.
They included two allegations of ‘corrupt practice’ - one stating that PC Ali had asked an abuse victim on a date and the second saying he provided her with a picture of Arshid Hussain taken from a confidential police database.
The third allegation, relating to the same victim, said PC Ali had been ‘involved in an arrangement’ for a child that had been in Arshid Hussain’s company to be handed over to the police in exchange for Arshid Hussain not being arrested or prosecuted.
The other two complaints against him were also of ‘neglect/failure in duty’ - one alleging he failed to properly investigate an allegation that a child had been taken from her parent and locked in a house overnight and the second claiming he had failed to properly inquire into the identity of a child found on the street at night.
The court was also told PC Ali had ‘conducted research’ on the police database into Arshid Hussain and his brother and fellow defendant Basharat Hussain.
Following PC Ali’s death in February 2015, then-South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton said PC Ali was a ‘well-liked officer whose colleagues are devastated by what has happened’.
An IPCC spokesman said today investigations into alleged police misconduct in relation to the Rotherham abuse scandal were ongoing.
“Once our investigations are concluded, we will consider how and when our findings will be published.”