Police watchdog takes over Caister fatal crash probe

The investigation into a fatal car crash at Caister, near Great Yarmouth, has been taken over by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Ryan Youngman, 15, of Middleton Road, Gorleston, was killed early yesterday when the Ford Fiesta he was travelling in collided with a wall as the 17-year-old driver tried to get away from a following police car.

The Fiesta, reported stolen two days earlier, had failed to stop for police who were in the village investigating an aggravated burglary in nearby Halt Road.

The IPCC was immediately informed of the crash as is normal procedure for accidents involving a pursuit.

And IPCC spokesman Neil Coyte today said the police watchdog had decided to take over the inquiry into the circumstances of the accident, treating it as an independent investigation using its own officers.

He confirmed that constituted their highest possible level of involvement above a managed investigation, a supervised inquiry or an investigation left to local police.

He said IPCC officers had the powers of a Police Constable and they could arrest people and interview them under caution if their investigation led them to that.

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He said the inquiry would be looking to establish the actions of the individual officers involved and the appropriateness of the Force's relevant systems and procedures.

Throughout today, the number of tributes on Ryan's Facebook page grew to more than 200 and flowers continued to be placed at the accident site in Yarmouth Road, Caister.

The youngster had gone to Gorleston's Oriel High School until two years ago and the principal of what is now Ormiston Venture Academy, Nicole McCartney, has put in place support for students affected by the tragedy.

Firefighters had to cut the driver free from the wreckage of the Fiesta and today his condition was still described as serious at Gorleston's James Paget Hospital.

The other passengers, an 18-year-old youth and a 17-year-old girl, were also taken to the JPH for treatment to less serious injuries. The three survivors have all been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

The girl was today released on police bail until March 3 pending further inquiries after being further arrested for being carried in a vehicle without the owner's consent.

The 18-year-old youth was expected to be released from hospital and interviewed by police by the end of this evening.

Norfolk police will continue their inquiries into the car theft and the burglary in which a householder returning home was attacked by an intruder.