Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Death crash police officer jailed

Malcolm Searles
Malcolm Searles used sirens and blue lights during the errand

A former Metropolitan police officer who killed a pedestrian while on a personal errand in a patrol car has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.

Malcolm Searles, 24, admitted causing the death by dangerous driving of Sandra Simpson, 61, as he went to deliver a birthday card last August.

Mrs Simpson died after the crash in Bromley, south-east London.

Searles, from Kent, used sirens and blue lights, while speeding, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

The court heard how Searles, from North View, Swanley, Kent, had been on a "hair raising joy-ride", during which he was clocked doing 104mph in a 40mph zone.

Sacked from force

Seconds before the crash on 23 August, Searles had been driving at 56mph in a 30mph zone.

Mrs Simpson's son-in-law: 'our world fell apart'

After a "prolonged course of dangerous driving" covering a total of 22 miles and lasting over an hour, he hit Mrs Simpson.

"Had he been driving at the legal limit he would have been able to stop," Michael Mulkerris, prosecuting, told the court.

The officer, who was based in Bromley police station, was charged after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated the fatal crash.

He was sacked from the Met in April following disciplinary action.

IPCC investigators found Searles had gone on the personal errand, while on duty, to his sister's house in Swanley, Kent.

'Real character'

Later, he tried to lie his way out of trouble, claiming he had been following speeding car he believed had been stolen, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Sandra and Peter Simpson
Sandra Simpson was with her husband Peter when she was killed

Mrs Simpson was walking with her husband, Peter, in Homesdale Road at the time.

In a statement read to the court, Mrs Simpson's husband said his office receptionist wife "had been my whole world" and since her death he had contemplated suicide.

"In short I have lost everything... I loved her so much," he said.

"If I had known Mr Searles was rushing to save someone that night that would have been some consolation.

"But it was an accident waiting to happen from the moment he drove off."

Outside court, Mrs Simpson's son-in-law, Luke Brooks, said, when they were told of the accident, the family's "world fell apart".

"Sandy was a real character who loved life and wherever she went, fun and laughter followed," he added.

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