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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
'A police chase killed my son'
Neil Homer
Neil Homer was killed two days after his 20th birthday
As a report is published into fatalities and injuries caused by police traffic pursuits, one woman tells of her family's heartache after her son was killed by a police car involved in a high-speed chase.

Dianne Homer's son Neil was killed on 17 December 1995, just two days after his 20th birthday, by a police car being driven at 100mph.

The accident happened in Oldbury in the West Midlands at about midnight, after Neil had dropped his girlfriend off at her house.

"He was travelling back home and was stationary at some traffic lights," said Mrs Homer.

"The lights turned green and he moved forward, but a police car doing 100mph hit him."

Neil was given assistance at the scene of the crash by a doctor who was nearby, but he died three hours later.

I don't think it's worth having a high-speed pursuit, because even if the police do catch them, they don't get a big sentence
Dianne Homer

"We went out looking for Neil and came across the accident," Mrs Homer said.

"He was a lovely lad, very quiet. He'd help anybody."

Mrs Homer said the police car had been chasing a car they had suspected of being stolen, which they had believed had pulled away from a burglary.

The officer in the passenger seat of the police car, Pc Robert Dallow, 41, was killed outright, and the driver, Pc Lezlie Collins, was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving, of which he served six weeks.

Pc Collins was also briefly reinstated in his job by a West Midlands police disciplinary hearing, which sparked furious protests from the Homer family, before later retiring from the force.

Mrs Homer said: "I don't think it's worth having a high-speed pursuit, because even if the police do catch them, they don't get a big sentence. And if it goes wrong, innocent people are killed."

She also said the pain caused to her family was "devastating" and that her husband Dennis, who died 18 months ago aged 59, "never got over" his son's death.

Never forget

"It devastated the family. Neil was one of twins, and his sister Joanne cancelled her 21st birthday celebration because she was so upset. And it's still not very nice for her, whenever she has a birthday.

"Dennis was always doing something, he was campaigning for speed cameras or giving his opinion if there was a similar crash somewhere. He never gave up on it."

Mrs Homer said the family had placed a plaque at the site of Neil's accident, and that both she and his friends ensure there is a constant presence of flowers there.

"It's been over 10 years but there's always flowers put down. We'll never forget him."

'Risks are minimised'

A West Midlands Police spokesman said the crash had been a "sad and difficult case" and measures had been put in place to ensure chases were as safe as possible.

He said: "The policy is still under constant review and the safety of the public, police officers and those being pursued is of paramount importance.

"The policy requires that pursuits in the West Midlands are only undertaken by qualified advanced drivers, in appropriate vehicles and are overseen by an inspector in the force communications centre.

"The force helicopter is also used in pursuits to further minimise the risks involved in such incidents."


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