Greater Manchester Police officer under investigation after mother-of-three killed by police car

Heather Smedley, 53, was a mother of three. Credit: Family photo

A police officer is being investigated for causing death by dangerous driving after a mother-of-three was killed by a police car chasing a suspected stolen vehicle.

Heather Smedley, 53, was struck by the unmarked police car as it pursued an Audi A3, sending her crashing into a lamp post.

She died at the scene in Royton, in Oldham, on 23 December at the junction of Oldham Road and Otmoor Way.

The incident was mandatorily reported to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), who has since said it is conducting a criminal investigation.

After assessing evidence, including eyewitnesses and CCTV, it said, it is now investigating the police driver for potential offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving.

The driver is also being investigated for potential gross misconduct, but the IOPC stressed this does not necessarily mean disciplinary proceedings or criminal charges will follow.

The incident happened in Royton, Oldham. Credit: MEN Media

IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “Mrs Smedley lost her life in tragic circumstances just days before Christmas. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and all those affected by her death.

“Our investigation is independent of the police and will look at the circumstances of the collision, including the actions and decision-making of the police driver.

“We have been in touch with Mrs Smedley’s family to explain our role and will keep them updated as our investigation progresses.”

An inquest into Heather Smedley’s death was opened earlier this month.

In a statement after her death, her family called her "the most kind, gentle, beautiful soul inside and out".