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A policeman who starred on the hit TV series Road Wars killed two elderly women while driving to an emergency incident, an inquest jury heard this afternoon.
PC Darren Staley was travelling on emergency blue lights and rushing to an immediate response incident when his 4×4 Mitsubishi Outlander crashed with a Nissan Micra, an assistant coroner heard.
Eminent family planning expert and author Dr Gwyneth DeCamps, known professionally as Dr Gwyneth Botherway, and Mrs Ann Valley both suffered traumatic injuries in the crash, the coroner heard.
The vehicle they were in was slowly emerging from a junction when PC Staley struck it at a speed of 49mph. The elderly friends had just left a luncheon group meeting at a golf club.
Mrs Valley, 87-years-old and the driver of the vehicle, died at the scene while Mrs DeCamps, 88-years-old, died shortly after the collision in hospital on January 23 2018.
Appearing before a jury of six men and five women, PC Staley, a dog handler, was said to have acted heroically in the immediate aftermath of the crash, as he rushed from his unmarked silver police vehicle to check on the occupants of the damaged Nissan Micra.
After ensuring his police dog was unharmed, he gained entry to the white Nissan from the rear door and comforted and reassured the women as they sat injured and dying.
Police and paramedics arrived shortly after, he told the coroner.
Alison McCormick, the assistant Berkshire Coroner, said that medical examinations revealed both women died of blunt force trauma to the chest following the collision at 3.50pm in Calcot, Reading, Berkshire.
The jury heard that no-one involved in the collision was suffering the effects of intoxication through alcohol or drugs, had any health issues which may have contributed and that both vehicles were found to be in good condition following forensic examination.
Thames Valley Police officer PC Staley starred in the hit fly-on-the-wall TV series Road Wars, known as PC 'Daz' Staley, and served as an officer on the elite Pro-Active unit featured in Series 4,5 and 6 when it was broadcast on Sky1 from 2006 to 2008.
Appearing at the hearing to give evidence at Reading Coroner's Court, he was emotional and sometimes choked up as he recalled the traumatic events of the day to the jury.
He told the hearing he had rushed to the scene of an immediate response incident after reports an offender rammed into another police vehicle.
"I told control I was on the way to respond to it and pressed the 999 button which illuminated equipment on the vehicle and started heading towards the incident.
"I was travelling on the A4 towards Junction 12 towards Reading and I was passing through Calcot when I could see a vehicle from my nearside in my view. It seemed they came out of nowhere – all I could remember is braking, holding the steering wheel in place and hoping it was going to stop."
He stressed the proportion, justification and need for his response to the emergency call, saying: "It was an immediate response job – the vehicle had been rammed… that required me to be on blue lights. It was a bright, clear day – however, the roads were a little damp.
"(After the crash) it all went dark. I don't know why – did I close my eyes? When I opened my eyes, my vehicle was full of smoke and straight away I was aware the vehicle was on fire.
"I undid my seatbelt, reached for the driver's door and I remember having pain to my head."
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded the officer's account was consistent with correct protocol and there was no indication of misconduct.
IOPC Regional Director Jonathan Green said "The consequences of this incident were tragic and my thoughts are with both families and all those affected.
"After conducting a thorough investigation we found that the officer's driving was in line with police policies for responding to emergency calls."
Speaking shortly after her Mrs DeCamp's death, Joy Heaton (corr) paid and emotional tribute to her mother.
"I have never met anybody who loved their career so much. Even at Christmas she was saying how much she loved it and how much she missed it every day.
"Patients that she used to support in those days still sent her Christmas cards, along with their children and grandchildren. She worked through generations in the family planning field and helped many many patients fulfil their needs with children."
Mrs DeCamps, professionally known as Dr Botherway, had survived the Blitz in London and went on to study at Westminster Medical School and King's College, London, to eventually qualify as a doctor.
"Being a doctor was the only thing she ever wanted to do, right from when she was a little girl. She had to transfer schools because at the time she was growing up they didn't always encourage young ladies to study science subjects in the 1930s and 40s.
She said her mother's greatest achievement was becoming the first female president of the Windsor and District Medical Society.
Mrs Heaton said: "It was her greatest accolade – she was very, very proud of that indeed."
Solicitor Richard Middleton represented Mrs Valley, a former personal assistant of Crown Lane in Slough, Berkshire, while Mrs Heaton represented her mother, who lived on Farnham Lane in Farnham Royal, Slough.
The inquest continues.
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