12/29/2009UK: Speeding, Killer Cop Home For The Holidays
Speeding police officer who killed a teenager while responding to a false traffic camera report given time off from prison for the holidays.
The speeding Northumbria, UK Police officer who struck and killed a teenage girl last year was given a three-day furlough from prison so he could spend Christmas with his family. Police Constable John Dougal is serving a three-year jail sentence for his fatal, 94 MPH blast through a Newcastle-Upon-Tyne residential neighborhood on May 19, 2008.
At around 11:20 that evening, Dougal had received an Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) alert about a passing Renault Megane automobile. Believing the vehicle could be driven by a dangerous criminal, Dougal made a U-turn and decided to engage in a high-speed pursuit without activating his lights or siren. Moments after cresting a hill, Dougal's Volvo V70 police car slammed into Hayley Adamson, 16, as she crossed Denton Road (view video of the incident up to the moment of the crash).
A forensic examination conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) determined that if Dougal had been traveling at the road's speed limit of 30 MPH, he would have easily been able to stop in time. Although Adamson saw Dougal's car, she was unable to run out of the way in time. Adamson died instantly from the collision. A crowd of Adamson's friends witnessed the incident and shared angry words with police officers on the scene. In retaliation, officers tasered Adamson's boyfriend, George Oliver, because he had shouted at the police.
It turns out that Dougal's "chase" was entirely unnecessary. The automated camera system that suggested the Megane's driver was a criminal relied on a database information that was out of date, and the Megane driver was completely innocent.
In April, a court found Dougal guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. The IPCC did not investigate the taser incident or the conduct of the police officers at the scene, which the witnesses described as rude and uncaring. A second police car that closely followed Dougal at high speeds that night escaped any punishment. Friends of Adamson expressed outrage on Facebook regarding the special treatment given to Dougal over the holidays.
"I think it is disgusting that the policeman that killed Hayley will be allowed out of prison for three days over Christmas," one friend wrote. "My thoughts go to Hayley's family at this time of year."