A police officer who was driving a car which fatally injured a teenager when the prolific offender got out of his moving car has told an inquest that carrying out such pursuits was “horrible”.
Disqualified driver Kelvin Bainbridge, 19, was spotted by Durham Police officer Paul Jackson behind the wheel of a Nissan Primera in October 2019.
Mr Bainbridge, who was one of County Durham's most wanted criminals, died following a six-minute pursuit through Spennymoor after trying to exit his vehicle while it was still moving.
He subsequently suffered a blunt head injury after being struck by the front valance of the police constable's car.
An inquest being held at Crook, County Durham was told that Mr Bainbridge's four passengers included his mother and his pregnant partner. The couple had been to a hospital scan that morning where they found out they were due to have a baby boy.
PC Jackson, a tactically trained driver and firearms officer, told coroner Crispin Oliver that he had been involved in “hundreds” of pursuits during his police career.
The long-serving police officer has not been involved in another pursuit since and explained to the inquest being held in Crook that he is no longer in a “front-facing” role.
He said: “It’s horrible being involved in a pursuit. It’s a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, all you want them to do is stop. You are constantly thinking, ‘do I stop, do I keep going?’ I made all the right calls.”
PC Jackson, who now trains new recruits, said he manoeuvred his marked police BMW alongside the Nissan Primera in the final seconds of the pursuit to block off an alleyway he believed Mr Bainbridge may use to get away on foot.
The officer said it “did not even enter” his head that Mr Bainbridge might decamp from his car while it was still moving.
The coroner asked the officer if he felt it was a “safe” decision to use his car to block the escape route.
He replied: “I felt it was proportionate.
“(I used the car) to block off an escape route, it was nothing more than that.”
The inquest has previously heard the teenager’s mother, Suzanne Bainbridge, claim that her son believed PC Jackson had a “vendetta” against him.
However, the officer appeared emotional when he replied: “I had no vendetta against Kelvin Bainbridge.”
PC Jackson said Mr Bainbridge figured no higher in his professional life than any of the other wanted person.
He had no recollection of an alleged incident in which he apprehended Mr Bainbridge outside a court in 2017, saying: “I arrest somewhere between 80 and 100 people a year and detain around the same number, you don’t recall every interaction you have with someone.”
The inquest continues.
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