Kelvin Bainbridge inquest: 'Tearful' officer apologises to parents of teen killed during pursuit

180923 Kelvin Bainbridge, Family
Kelvin Bainbridge, 19, was killed following a six-minute pursuit by officers in Spennymoor, County Durham. Credit: PA

A police officer who was driving a vehicle which fatally injured a man has apologised to his parents.

Disqualified driver Kelvin Bainbridge was hit after getting out of a moving car while he was being pursued.

Bainbridge, 19, was one of County Durham’s most wanted criminals when he was spotted behind the wheel of a Nissan Primera in October 2019, along with four passengers including his mother and his pregnant partner.

He died following a six-minute pursuit through Spennymoor when he tried to exit his car while it was still moving. He suffered a blunt head injury when he was struck by the front valance of a marked police BMW driven by police constable Paul Jackson.

During an inquest into Mr Bainbridge's death, PC Jackson said he never meant to hurt the teenager.

The officer told the jury he had brought his vehicle to the side of the Primera, aiming to block off an alleyway.

Mr Bainbridge stumbled as he got out of the Primera and went under PC Jackson’s car.

The officer was asked by Jamie Burton KC, for the family, if this decision to mount the kerb alongside the Primera was “highly dangerous”, as it was “all but inevitable” that his vehicle would hit Mr Bainbridge if he tried to flee.

PC Jackson addressed Mr Bainbridge’s parents, Troy and Suzanne, at an inquest in Crook, County Durham, and tearfully apologised.

Officer Paul Jackson apologised to the parents of Kelvin Bainbridge during an inquest in Crook. Credit: PA

He said: “I had no idea he would jump out of a moving car.

“In my mind’s eye, I had closed off the most likely escape route.

“I wanted Kelvin Bainbridge to get out of the car and think ‘s***, that way is closed’ and slow him down.

“I’m sorry Suzanne, Troy, I never went out of my way to hurt him, I just wanted to arrest him.”

The jury heard PC Jackson was a qualified police driver and armed response officer who had carried out hundreds of pursuits, and no-one previously had been injured.

He told jurors: “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.”

Having watched the dash-cam video of the incident, PC Jackson insisted his actions that day were correct.

“I watched it with pride at someone doing everything right,” he said.

“But it went awfully wrong. I was trying to do the right thing, I am so sorry for how this finished. I am.”

He told John Beggs KC, for the police, that he was “devastated” to learn later that Mr Bainbridge had died.

PC Jackson has not been involved in any pursuits since this fatality almost four years ago, explaining he was no longer in a “front-facing” role and now trained new recruits. He said he would not return to roads policing.

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.

PC Jackson said: “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 claim that her son believed PC Jackson had a “vendetta” against him.

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 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 was adjourned until Thursday morning.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...