Family of death-crash teenager say police were partly to blame, despite inquest verdict
PUBLISHED: 13:47 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:54 13 November 2017
A grieving family are still holding police partly responsible for the death of a teenager whose car hit a tree while he was being tailed by officers.
Today, following a week-long inquest in Norwich, a jury returned a verdict that a police pursuit was not to blame for the death of Preston Fulcher, 19.
But after the inquest the family issued a statement through their solicitor Karen Rogers, making it clear that they disagreed with the conclusion. The family said: “As a family we have sat in court and heard all of the evidence, the jury have come to their conclusions and we have come to ours.
“Preston’s family accepts the part he played in losing his life, however, and not withstanding the conclusion of the jury, the family remain of the view that the actions of the police officers contributed to his death.
“Preston’s family hope that Norfolk Constabulary will consider improving their pursuit training.
“The family request that they now be allowed to grieve in peace. Never underestimate a mother’s love for her child. Preston’s mother hopes that no other family will have to go through such pain and heartache.”
Mr Fulcher took his brother’s car in North Walsham after a night out on June 26 last year and was followed by police when they noticed he was driving without lights at 2.40am.
During the inquest last week area coroner Yvonne Blake said the marked car put its lights and sirens on but the Peugeot did not stop.
She said it went through a red light and police drove at up to 80mph in a 30mph limit to close the gap as they followed the vehicle on a route around North Walsham.
The car crashed into a tree near Captain’s Pond and Mr Fulcher died from his injuries in hospital.
Ms Blake said Preston had been out with his brother Ben, they returned home in North Walsham together, and Ben went out for around another half an hour then returned to find Preston was gone.
PC Richard Jeffery, who was driving the police car, told the inquest the pursuit lasted around 90 seconds and covered one-and-a-half miles.
He said he could not recall how close he was to the vehicle in front.
Asked by the family’s lawyer, Sean Horstead, if he was three to four metres behind while travelling at 75mph in a 30mph zone, he replied: “At those speeds I would not have been that close to the vehicle in front.”
Ms Blake offered the family her sincere condolences and said Mr Fulcher’s mother Anita conducted herself “with such poise and dignity”.