Inquest hears South Shields dad was hit by police car called to help suicidal man

South Shields father-of-two Vincent Gibson suffered fatal injuries after being hit by police vehicle

Vincent Gibson, 50, who was struck by a police car and suffered fatal injuries
Vincent Gibson, 50, who was struck by a police car and suffered fatal injuries

A father-of-two was hit by a police car on its way to help a suicidal man, an inquest has heard.

A 999 call was made to Northumbria Police on January 7, 2012, by a distressed man threatening to harm himself.

However, one of the cars sent out to assist the caller hit Vincent Gibson on Whiteleas Way, in South Shields, and the 50-year-old, of Biddick Hall, suffered fatal injuries.

Yesterday a jury at Moot Hall, in Newcastle, heard that the 999 report was classed as Grade One - life in danger - an incident of the highest priority.

Contact handler Jill Maddison-Taylor, who took the call, said the man did not want to give his location and she tried to build a rapport with him to gather more information.

She searched the force computer system using his mobile number and was able to locate a home address. The caller had also mentioned being in a field and near a railway crossing.

She added: “The call was from a very distressed male who needed someone to talk to and was threatening to harm himself.

Whiteleas Way, South Shields, where Vincent Gibson was struck by a police vehicle
Whiteleas Way, South Shields, where Vincent Gibson was struck by a police vehicle
 

“He had a lot of personal things happening in a short space of time. He had problems with family and thought he was going to end his life. He said he had a child and that he had lost his job.

“The whole time I was still trying to encourage him to tell me where he was.”

At one point, she lost contact with the man but he called back again and more conversation took place.

In the meantime, Mrs Maddison-Taylor sent a log to the resource controller, who allocated two cars with officers to attend to the emergency. A helicopter was also scrambled.

It was said the cars were expected to go to the man’s home to gather more information about his whereabouts, pending any further instructions. But the vehicles had to stop on Whiteleas Way as one of them struck Mr Gibson.

The inquest has previously heard the police car had blue lights and sirens on, and was driving at speeds of 66mph.

It went onto the wrong side of the 30mph road as it passed a bus and returned to the correct side before the driver spotted a hazard and started breaking. The speed at the point of impact was 55mph.

The jury was told the distressed man was found later that night and taken to South Tyneside District Hospital where a disorder incident occurred and he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

Afterwards, he was placed at the hospital’s Bede wing, which helps people with mental health problems.

The inquest continues.

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