Vincent Gibson inquest: Final moments before tragic smash revealed

Police driver describes her shock at incident where dad-of-two Vincent Gibson was knocked down in South Shields

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

The final moments leading up to the death of dad-of-two Vincent Gibson when he was struck by a police car were re-lived yesterday.

They were revealed in an interview under caution with the driver, PC Lisa Lumley, after the tragedy in January 2012 which was read out at Mr Gibson’s inquest.

In it she described how she had cried “Oh my God” after the initial impact.

PC Lumley and her colleague PC Dave Hutchinson had been responding to a 999 call which was a ‘grade one’ incident, meaning life was in danger, after a man phoned Northumbria Police and threatened to kill himself.

This gave them a 10 minute response time to get to the scene and while travelling at 55mph on 30mph Whiteleas Way in South Shields, the tragedy occurred.

At around 10.20pm with the car’s siren sounding and blue lights flashing the pair spotted Mr Gibson step onto the road. In the police interview conducted 10 days after the incident, she told how her partner said “Oh f***” as he stepped out.

She said: “I saw legs sprinting towards the car on the near side of the vehicle. I heard a loud thump and the windscreen shattered. At this time I was doing an emergency stop and heard another thump come from the rear of the vehicle.” After asking her colleague if he was OK - PC Hutchinson eventually had to be cut free by firefighters - she got out to check on Mr Gibson.

“I was just in shock,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I just wanted to know if that person was alright. I saw him there at the back and at this point I tried to use my radio but couldn’t. It was so chaotic.

“I checked his pulse and checked for breathing.”

When asked if Mr Gibson was dead at that point, PC Lumley, who was very distressed during the interview, replied: “Pretty much.” Mr Gibson, 50, of Biddick Hall, suffered multiple injuries and was later pronounced dead at South Tyneside District Hospital.

PC Lumley’s interview was attended by a representative of Northumbria Police’s professional standards department and accident investigators from Durham Constabulary.

During it she said her sighting of Mr Gibson and the first impact was almost instantaneous and she had no opportunity to swerve. When asked about a discrepancy between this and the vehicle’s data recorder which suggested she might have seen him slightly earlier, PC Lumley said: “It happened so quickly.”

The hearing continues.

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