Heather Smedley: police driver under investigation after mum killed during police pursuit in Oldham
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A police officer is under criminal investigation after a woman was killed when she was hit by a police car which was chasing a suspected stolen vehicle.
Heather Smedley, 53, died after an unmarked police car crashed into her Peugeot 108 on December 23 in Royton, Oldham. The police car was chasing an Audi A3, which officers believed to be stolen, when it crashed into Heather.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said an unnamed police officer is being probed for the potential offence of causing death by dangerous driving. They are also being investigated for potentially causing death by careless driving and potential gross misconduct in relation to the manner of their driving.
Heather was treated by paramedics but was pronounced dead at the scene around 30 minutes after the crash. Two police officers also received treatment for injuries sustained in the collision.
IOPC regional director Catherine Bates said: “Mrs Smedley lost her life in tragic circumstances just days before Christmas. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and all those affected by her death.
“Our investigation is independent of the police and will look at the circumstances of the collision, including the actions and decision-making of the police driver. We have been in touch with Mrs Smedley’s family to explain our role and will keep them updated as our investigation progresses.”
An inquest was opened and adjourned earlier this month.
Heather’s family paid tribute to her shortly after she died, describing her as the most ‘beautiful soul inside and out.’
They said: “To the most wonderful mother to Benjamin, Olivia and Jamie, daughter to Hilda and Fred, sister, friend, and wife to Damian. The world was a much better place with you in it.
“Our mum was the most kind, gentle, beautiful soul inside and out. She faced all of life’s challenges with her beautiful smile, and her bravery and courage never wavered.
“We could not have asked for a better role model growing up, giving everything, she had to all of those she loved, and always supporting those around her.
“She was the glue that held our family together. Her resilience and kindness inspired us all to be better.
“She had the greatest sense of humour and contagious laugh that we will miss every single day.
“You were too good for this world Mum, there will be a hole in our hearts forever.”