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Henry Hicks police misconduct hearing: Four police officers acquitted over crash that killed Islington teenager

PUBLISHED: 14:00 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:59 20 October 2017

A picture of Henry Hicks at a shrine near to the scene of his death in Wheelwright Street, off Caledonian Road. Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

A picture of Henry Hicks at a shrine near to the scene of his death in Wheelwright Street, off Caledonian Road. Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

Archant

Four police officers who followed Henry Hicks before his fatal crash have been acquitted in a gross misconduct hearing.

A picture of Henry Hicks at a shrine near to the scene of his death in Wheelwright Street, off Caledonian Road. Picture: Arnaud StephensonA picture of Henry Hicks at a shrine near to the scene of his death in Wheelwright Street, off Caledonian Road. Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

Four police officers who followed Henry Hicks before his fatal crash have been acquitted in a gross misconduct hearing.

The officers, who have been granted anonymity, were accused of engaging in a police pursuit – without permission – of Mr Hicks’s moped in Caledonian Road in December 2014.

Seconds later, Mr Hicks, 18, crashed in Wheelwright Street and died.

At the conclusion of the misconduct hearing in the Empress State Building in Earl’s Court this afternoon, panel chair Eileen Herlihy said: “It is not proven against any of the officers.

Campaigners hold up Justice for Henry Hicks signs in a protest outside Islington Police Station in 2015. Picture: Dieter PerryCampaigners hold up Justice for Henry Hicks signs in a protest outside Islington Police Station in 2015. Picture: Dieter Perry

“We acknowledge this has been a huge tragedy for the Hicks family.”

The Hicks family left the building as soon as the verdict was given, not waiting to hear Ms Herlihy’s full reasoning.

Ruling out the possibility that the incident amounted to a police pursuit, she said: “The manner of Mr Hicks’s driving in York Way [where the hearing heard officers first noticed suspicious behaviour] was not significantly different than that in Caledonian Road.

“If Mr Hicks was being pursued, he could have turned into side streets where a car wouldn’t have been able to follow [as opposed to Wheelwright Street]. He had a number of opportunities but failed to do so.

The Henry Hicks shrine near to the scene of his death in Wheelwright Street, off Caledonian Road. Picture: Dieter PerryThe Henry Hicks shrine near to the scene of his death in Wheelwright Street, off Caledonian Road. Picture: Dieter Perry

“There was always a significant distance between the moped and car one. This increased along Caledonian Road. When turning into Wheelwright Street, the distance was substantial: 10 seconds between them.

“All the evidence we have before us shows that the two cars were not engaged in a pursuit.”

Of inconsistencies in the four officers’ accounts, she added: “This was a fast moving, dynamic situation. Accounts [immediately after the crash] may not always be reliable and consistent and we remind ourselves this incident took place in a very narrow time frame.

“They were met with an unexpected, horrific situation and the officers were involved in lifesaving attempts for some time. There had been no opportunity to prepare themselves. It’s inherently unfair to give weight to these accounts.”

The Gazette has approached the Met for information on the four officers’ employment status in light of today’s decision.

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