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Grandmother killed by police car while crossing road on mobility scooter

Jessie Whitehead died on Coventry Road in Bedworth last year. (SWNS)

A grandmother was knocked off her mobility scooter and killed by a police car attending a routine 999 call, an inquest has heard.

Jessie Whitehead, 74, was hit by the car as she was crossing the road in Bedworth, Warwickshire, in January 2019.

The officers involved were said to have been responding to reports of a broken crane at the time.

Mrs Whitehead, who had suffered from polio as a child, was returning from a shopping trip with her long-time friend Tony Vaughan, who was also on a scooter.

Officers stopped at the scene to give first aid and the pensioner was taken to hospital by air ambulance, but she later died - becoming the third woman to die in a crash involving police in a week.

People leave floral tributes at the scene in January last year. (SWNS)

Road sweeper Gareth Deacon told an inquest he watched in horror as the police car ploughed into Mrs Whitehead’s mobility scooter at around 12pm.

Giving evidence at Warwickshire Coroners Court, he said: “I saw the police car coming up the other way with its lights and sirens going. I heard the sirens before the bend. I was in shock. I was in bits. I saw Jessie before I stopped.”

Mrs Whitehead’s friend Tony Vaughan, told the officer in the video: “I said ‘no’ and shouted ‘right’ but she must not have heard me.

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“I don’t know if it was the sun that caught her.

“She couldn’t have heard me shout ‘no’. I saw the police car but she obviously didn’t.”

Several members of Mrs Whitehead’s family left the hearing as police bodycam footage of the aftermath of the crash was played to the jury.

Further witness statements, given to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) as part of their investigation, were also read out to the jury by Assistant Coroner Delroy Henry.

Mrs Whitehead was returning from a shopping trip at the time. (SWNS)

Eyewitness Paul Lapper who was driving in front of the police car said he “heard a bang and the female and her scooter were six feet in the air”.

“She twisted into the air. Her cane fell to the ground. It was around five to 10 seconds long. The sky was blue and the sun was out,” he said.

Another driver, Matthew Sprott, said the police car was travelling up to 50mph when it hit Mrs Whitehead.

He said: “The lady had already moved into the road when the scooter lurched forward.

“I didn’t know whether she had pressed the wrong button or thought she could get across.

“The police car was travelling between 40mph and 50mph when the collision happened as I was around six to seven car lengths behind.”

The jury inquest, which is expected to last five days, continues.