More could have been done to prevent policeman's M6 crash death, widow says

PC Nick Dumphreys was killed in January 2020 after volunteering to respond to a 999 call. Credit: Kathryn Dumphreys

The widow of a policeman who died when his car overturned on the M6 says more should have been done by Cumbria Police - and BMW - to protect her husband following the coroners inquest into his death. PC Nick Dumphreys died after his police vehicle "failed catastrophically" near Carlisle, left the road and landed on its roof as he was responding to an emergency at high speed in 2020.

The inquest heard that BMW had known of potential problems with the type of engine in his car for several years. His wife, Kathryn, who's also a police officer, says the vehicle was "not fit for purpose" and Cumbria Police should have told him about the issues.

A coroner's role is not to apportion blame but to establish the facts of how a person died.

Assistant coroner Robert Cohen delivered a verdict of accidental death in this case, but questions remain about whether more should have been done to stop the accident from happening.

It was known that there were some issues with the type of engine in PC Dumphreys for at least four years - his wife believes he might be alive today if different actions had been taken. The inquest heard that his vehicle had suffered a catastrophic failure; a crankshaft bearing had failed, leading to oil igniting and spreading onto the road and his rear wheels.

Engine failures in police force BMWs had been reported on dozens of occasions since 2014 - something the coroner said was a "startlingly high failure rate".

Nick's wife Kathryn says she's glad the facts have now come out and believes all police forces in the UK should stop using these vehicles to ensure that no other family endures the pain and suffering that she's gone through. BMW had issued advice to police forces about having more regular services for these vehicles and using a different type of oil - the coroner said its response had not led or contributed to PC Dumphreys' death and there were no issues with Cumbria Police regarding the servicing. Cumbria's Chief Constable said: "The death of a police officer in the line of duty is always a tragedy.

"Our thoughts since that day have been with Nick's family, particularly his wife Kat and their children." A representative from BMW said: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of PC Nick Dumphreys and the impact this has had on his family, friends and colleagues.

"As the Coroner highlighted, many factors contributed to this accident and we have worked closely with the Police throughout to help to identify the chain of events which lead to it.

"BMW has acted responsibly in responding to this unique technical issue, which has not been seen in other markets, including in other Police forces around the world."