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Sunday, April 25, 1999 Published at 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK


UK

Hunt for hit-and-run PC killer

Routine speed tests were being held when the PC was killed

A murder inquiry has been launched after a young traffic policeman was killed by a hit-and-run driver while carrying out a routine speed check.

PC Jeffrey Tooley, 26, was dragged for 100 yards by a white Renault van after being hit in Brighton Road, Shoreham, West Sussex, shortly before midnight on Saturday.

He suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Worthing hospital where he died on Sunday.

Police are carrying out forensic tests on a white Renault van which was found burned out on downs above nearby Hove about two hours after PC Tooley was hit.

Vehicle did not stop

A spokesman said PC Tooley and a colleague had been carrying out a routine speed check on a 30 mph stretch of road.

The officer had been standing in the middle of the road when he was hit.

Police said the van sped off along the A259 in the direction of Hove.

"PC Tooley and a colleague were conducting a formal speed check using a hand-held laser device on a straight and well-lit stretch of road," said Detective Superintendent Alan Ladley, who is heading the murder investigation.

"PC Tooley was standing in the middle of the road wearing a fluorescent jacket, full protective clothing and carrying a torch.

"The vehicle was clearly exceeding the 30 mph speed limit. It did not stop or brake.

"The driver would certainly have known he had hit the officer, who was dragged or carried up to 100 yards up the road, and the van would have been damaged."

Force 'saddened and devastated'

He appealed for anyone with information about the van - a "traffic van" with a green stripe along the side - to come forward and urged the driver to contact police.

PC Tooley, who was single, had been a policeman for seven years and a traffic officer at Shoreham for two years.

"The whole force is saddened and devastated by his loss," said Sussex's Assistant Chief Constable, Tony Lake."

Inspector Graham Brown, who was working in the control room at police headquarters when news of the officer's death broke, helped train him shortly after he joined the force in his late teens.

"He was a very private person. A lovely guy," said Insp Brown. "He was one of my probationary constables at Brighton.

"He was gentle and kind and he was very much a traffic officer. He had always wanted to be a traffic officer and that was what he became."



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