Investigation concludes into fatal collision after Staffordshire Police pursuit
Police officers pursued a car in line with policy and procedure before a fatal collision in Staffordshire, an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) concluded.
An inquest at Stafford which ended today (Friday 22 September) determined that Kaya Morrison-Taylor and William Craddock, who were both aged 22, died as a result of a road traffic collision. Our five-month investigation followed a referral by Staffordshire Police after the collision at Essington on the A460 Cannock Road shortly before 4am on 1 August 2021.
Evidence we gathered indicated that a pursuit began after an Audi S3 driven by Mr Morrison-Taylor failed to stop for an unmarked police car which pulled up behind it in Backcrofts car park in Cannock. Officers wanted to speak to the occupants in connection with an assault which had been reported. The Audi then turned into Avon Road as a second unmarked police car approached. That car then led the pursuit for around four and a half minutes before it was ended when officers lost sight of the vehicle about a mile-and-a-half from where it crashed.
A short time later both police vehicles came across the collision on the A460, near the junction with Wood Hayes Road, where the Audi had lost control on a bend, and struck a telegraph pole and a tree. Mr Morrison-Taylor and Mr Craddock, who was a back seat passenger, were confirmed dead at the scene. Officers provided first aid to another man, a front seat passenger, who survived his injuries.
The road traffic collision report showed that there was no contact at any point between the police vehicles and the Audi, which was calculated to have been travelling at speeds in excess of 120 mph between Cannock and the scene of the collision.
Our investigation did not identify any conduct issues for the officers involved.
IOPC Regional Director for the West Midlands, Derrick Campbell, said: “Tragically two men lost their lives as a result of this collision. Our thoughts are with their families, friends and all those affected by their deaths.
“Our investigation was independent of the police and aimed to establish what happened in the lead up to the collision. We found the officers acted appropriately and in line with procedures.
“The evidence we gathered was provided to the coroner to assist with the inquest proceedings, which we hope has helped answer some of the families’ questions about that night.”
After we were notified about the collision by Staffordshire Police we sent investigators to the scene and the police post incident procedure to begin gathering information and initial accounts from the officers. During our investigation we took statements from independent witnesses, analysed CCTV from along the route of the pursuit and also reviewed police body worn video footage.