A Met police officer who hit and killed Jade Mutua in 2019 while responding to an emergency call in a marked police car was not at fault, an inquest has ruled.
The inquest, which ended yesterday at Westminster Coroner’s Court, determined that Ms Mutua, an aspiring social worker aged 22, died as a result of a road traffic accident.
PC Gary Watkinson, who was driving the vehicle, acted in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded.
The police car was travelling at about 62mph in a 30mph zone, prior to the officer’s emergency braking. Ms Mutua was struck at 53mph.
Ms Mutua’s dad, Jermaine Laxmidas, said he wants the law to change around collisions involving emergency vehicles responding to an emergency.
He said: “Sixty-two to 64 miles an hour in a 30mph zone. Police said that’s normal. PC Wilkinson said himself [at the inquest] that he is encouraged by the police and the superintendent to go faster.
“When questioned is there a set speed limit to go he said ‘no, you can go as fast as 110mph on a 30mph road.
“I think the law needs to change. The whole jury agreed he killed my beautiful daughter.”
On August 13, 2019, at around 10pm, police officers responded to an emergency call following a report of a woman being threatened by a group with a knife.
The car they were in collided with Ms Mutua, in Warwick Road, Kensington.
She had entered the road from beside a parked Land Rover Freelander and sustained serious injuries. Officers gave emergency first aid but she died in hospital two days later.
An IOPC investigation which concluded in November 2020, looked at the actions and decisions of MPS officers and staff prior to the collision, the manner of the police officer’s driving and the medical assistance provided by officers at the scene.
It examined a forensic collision report which studied the response officer’s reaction times to Ms Mutua entering the road. Research studies suggest most normal road drivers, under test conditions, are able to respond to an unexpected hazard in 0.7 to 1.5 seconds, with 0.7 considered “extremely swift”.
According to the analysis, the driving officer responded in 0.6 seconds.
IOPC regional director, Charmaine Arbouin, said: “My thoughts and sympathies are with Ms Mutua’s family, friends and all those affected by her untimely and tragic death, including the officers involved.
“Our investigation found no indication that any Metropolitan Police Service officers behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence.
“However, we did identify the need for the Metropolitan Police to provide radio batteries which will last the duration of an officer’s full shift. On this occasion the officers had to return to their police vehicle in order to send a radio message to other units following the collision.”
A spokesman for IOPC said: “As part of our investigation, IOPC investigators attended the scene and conducted a detailed examination.
“A number of witness statements were taken from police officers and members of the public. CCTV footage and police officers’ body-worn camera footage was analysed and compared, along with a download from the police vehicle’s incident data recorder.”
Pictured top: Jade Mutua, with her father Jermaine Laxmidas, centre holding a picture of her (Picture: Jade Mutua Foundation trust)
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:
“A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or, please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ