Probe into death crash pursuit begins

An independent investigation has begun into a police pursuit prior to a crash that killed a Benington teenager.

James Clennell, 16, of Benington, died in the early hours of Monday morning after the Citroen Saxo he was travelling in overturned on Melbourn Street, Royston - striking a set of traffic lights, before hitting a brick wall and writing off a delivery vehicle.

He was later pronounced dead at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, after being treated by paramedics at the scene.

Initial police reports claim the Saxo, and another vehicle, were performing u-turns on the A505 and a chase ensued when the driver sped away after being signalled to stop by a marked patrol car at around 1am.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is now investigating the incident.

“As the Saxo was being pursued by a police car prior to the collision Hertfordshire Police referred the incident to the IPCC,” a commission spokesman said.

“Investigators were deployed to the scene to begin collecting evidence and an independent investigation has now started.

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“The officers concerned have provided initial accounts of the incident and investigators have recovered CCTV that shows the Saxo and the police car, with its emergency lights on, passing through Royston.

“At this stage it is not believed the police car came into physical contact with the Saxo during the pursuit.

“The investigation will look at the actions of the officers during the course of the pursuit to see whether they followed the relevant guidelines, establish what speed they were driving at and their proximity to the Saxo during the pursuit.”

Three teenagers have been arrested and bailed until August 1 in relation to the incident.

Since the fatal crash tributes have begun to build up at the scene, just outside USA Chicken & Pizza - with flowers, football shirts and cans of drink left by mourners.

A number of Facebook pages have been set up in memory of Mr Clennell and hundreds of comments have been left.

Ashleigh Clennell, James’ sister, posted: “I miss you James, I am listening to the songs you put on my phone and they just remind me of you so much! You were the best brother and I just can’t understand why it was you that was taken from us.

“I would do anything to have you back just to see your smile and to have a cuddle off you and have a bantering sesh.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary is conducting a parallel investigation into the incident.