Death crash family – police win praise

POLICE officers who dealt with the aftermath of a collision in which a family of four were killed on the A1 have been commended at an awards ceremony this week.

Traffic Sergeant Les Moorhouse, of Skipton, and Traffic Sergeant John Lumbard, of Richmond, investigated the collision which led to newspaper van driver Scott Easton, 23, of Stockton on Tees, being jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to four charges of causing death by dangerous driving at Great Fencote, south of Catterick.

Teesside Crown Court heard that Paula Gilbert, 29, her partner, Neil Jex, 37, and two of their children, Tristan, three, and seven-month-old Kaiden, from Hebburn on South Tyneside, died when their car was hit by Easton’s van because he dozed off after a night spent drinking and partying.

Ms Gilbert’s other son, Macauley, who was eight at the time in March, 2007, was flown to hospital in Middlesbrough by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and survived.

The officers were helped by Highways Agency Traffic Officers Thomas Hartley, Ian Curtis and Geoffrey Harland, who also received commendations from North Yorkshire Police's Western Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Colin Taylor, at the ceremony in Harrogate on Tuesday.

Sgt Lumbard was also commended for his work at the scene of a fatal collision between a lorry and a motor tricycle at Leeming Bar and his investigation into the deaths of the two motorcyclists.

Police Community Support Officer Alison Gill, of Knaresborough, was presented with a Crown Court Commendation for her bravery and resolution by standing in the path of a car in an attempt to stop an offender who was later jailed for 30 months and disqualified for three years.

The diligence and thinking of Police Constables Steve Robinson and Christian Fletcher, of Richmond, were also recognised. They saved a man who attempted to commit suicide in the rear of a police vehicle while he was being taken into custody.

Commendations were also presented to Police Community Support Officer Caroline Pugh, of Richmond, who, while off duty, helped a store owner in Richmond after a theft and tracked and detained the offenders; Pc Brad Jackson, of Harrogate Dog Section, who tracked a man who fled the scene of a collision in Knaresborough during terrible weather; and Pc Michaela Godridge, of Richmond, for investigating a disturbance at Catterick Garrison.

Awards were also made to Chief Inspector Steve Harris, of Craven, the Western Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Bernie Mitchell, and Pc Gary Lewis, Youth Action Officer in Richmondshire, to mark their retirement.