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Officers not to blame for high-speed police chase that killed two passengers

Workers clear the scene where two men died following a police chase in the early hours of Good Friday. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Workers clear the scene where two men died following a police chase in the early hours of Good Friday. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
5:01 PM

A high-speed police chase that saw a “violent criminal” kill two of his friends when he crashed his car into a bridge was not the fault of the officers in pursuit, an investigation has found.

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The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has ruled that the actions of the officers in the marked police car were proportionate and followed published guidelines.

The pursuit, which saw Karl Maddix reach up to 100mph as he tried to get away, took place along Seven Sisters Road, starting in Holloway and ending when his car hit a delivery van then smashed into a railway bridge support on the same road in Tottenham in March last year.

Maddix, 32, of Tufnell Park Road, Holloway, is said to have run four red lights in his girlfriend’s Audi A3 trying to escape police.

His two passengers - Shaka Henry, 33, from St John’s Way, Archway, and Gregory Jones, 38, of Grenville Road, Hornsey Rise - both died at the scene.

Mr Jones died from multiple head trauma while Mr Henry died from multiple chest and head tramua - thought to have been caused by a saw in the boot of the car flying forward.

The IPCC investigation, which examined the both the pursuit and its authorisation, found the decision to initiate the pursuit was appropriate as Maddix showed no intention stopping despite the police car having its lights and sirens on.

The chase lasted just two minutes and 21 seconds. After the pursuing officers contacted the Met’s Central Communication Command (CCC), they were authorised to continue with the chase just 22 seconds before the fatal impact. By that stage, a decision was pending on whether or not to abandon the pursuit.

The police reached a speed of 73mph in a 30mph zone during the chase, but the IPCC found it was appropriate on a road that was wide with very few cars, and in dry weather conditions, reducing the risk to other road users.

Derrick Campbell, IPCC commissioner, said: “Our investigation found that the pursuit guidelines were followed and that consideration was being given to discontinue the pursuit due to the Audi’s high speeds.

“However, because of the very short timescales involved, the collision had tragically taken place before this decision was taken. This was an incident that developed swiftly over a short period of time and our investigation concluded that it was reasonable that the decision to discontinue had not been made.

“We found no wrongdoing on the part of the officers and I must commend them for their efforts to revive Mr Jones and Mr Henry at the scene, and to provide first aid to Mr Maddix.

“We have shared our report with the families of Mr Jones and Mr Henry, and offered to meet them to explain our findings if they wish. I would once again like to express my condolences to them at what must continue to be a very difficult time.”

The IPCC also found there was a minimal delay in contacting the Met’s CCC to ask whether to continue the pursuit, and this had no impact on the incident.

In February this year, Maddix admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Wood Green Crown Court, was jailed for 10 years and disqualified from driving for 12 years.

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