Inquest told of delays in police repsonse to death crash on A45

An inquest has been held at Kettering Magistrates' Court into the death of a man on the A45 in August last year
An inquest has been held at Kettering Magistrates' Court into the death of a man on the A45 in August last year

A coroner called on a police control room inspector to explain why there had been delays in responding to a fatal accident on the A45 in August last year.

George Butler, then aged 82, died when his Toyota Yaris left the carriageway and rolled over near the Skew Bridge roundabout.

He had been returning to his home in Thrapston late in the evening after spending a day with a friend.

Mr Butler’s inquest was held at Kettering Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday, January 8).

The inquest heard from Rushden man Alan Pamplin, who passed the accident scene when he was a passenger in a vehicle on its way to Ringstead.

He told the inquest he saw a car bridging a ditch at the side of the road and phoned the police to alert them at about 9.52pm.

On his way back from Ringstead, Mr Pamplin once again saw the car and told his wife to pull over so he could investigate.

He found Mr Butler’s body in the front of the vehicle and once again contacted the police – although by chance a passing police car then stopped at the scene, which had not been alerted by the control room.

Coroner Anne Pember called on Insp Simon Hankins, from Northamptonshire Police’s control room, to give evidence as to why officers had not been called to the scene after the initial call.

Insp Hankins said there had been initial confusion over finding the exact location of the accident and when an officer was alerted, they were already dealing with an incident where a car was being moved from the carriageway and said they would respond when that was dealt with.

Insp Hankins said at that point the control room should have expressed that the incident was an emergency, and this was not done.

That officer arrived at the scene at about 10.21pm, by which time the passing police officer was at the scene.

Mrs Pember stressed that she did not believe the response time in Mr Butler’s accident would have affected the outcome, as pathologist Dr Frances Hollingbury had already explained that he was likely to have been killed instantly by head and neck injuries, but she wanted clarification in case there were lessons to be learned in the future.

Collision investigator PC Cliff Wilkins told the inquest it was possible Mr Butler had misjudged his speed while approaching the roundabout. His car had left the carriageway and overturned once before coming to rest in the ditch.

The inquest heard from Mr Butler’s daughter, Kerry Dempsey, who paid tribute to her dad.

She said he had been born in Irthlingborough and after school had joined the army. After leaving the army he had a number of jobs, including as a carpenter and handyman.

He enjoyed learning about his family tree and visiting places of historical interest and in the years before his death he had begun going to dancing classes and learning about computers.

Coroner Anne Pember returned a verdict of accidental death.