Sargeant Graeme McCreadie, 54, accidentally mowed down a woman in the process of chasing down her attacker in Kendal, Cumbria, in May 2018
A police sergeant accidentally mowed down and seriously injured an assault victim as he used his marked van to block the escape of her attacker, a court heard today.
Sergeant Graeme McCreadie, 54, ploughed into Samantha Cook and pinned her against a wall after he veered across the carriageway and mounted a kerb when he noticed the attacker fleeing through a gap in a fence, in Kendal, Cumbria.
Miss Cook, 25, had been involved in a violent fight at 2am with her shirtless ex-boyfriend and was crushed by her midriff and trapped against the van until McCreadie reversed, and she ‘fell to the floor’ with a doubled fractured pelvis in May last year. She was left lying on the floor ‘hysterical’ and ‘screaming’.
She also suffered a fracture to the base of the spine and a severe wound to the side of her genitals and wound to the vaginal wall. She received pelvic surgery and was fitted with metal rods and a cage to keep her bones in place.
McCreadie admitted he went ‘too far’ and was ‘obviously going too fast’ to the court.
Miss Cook has since required daily medical attention from a nurse and struggles doing daily activities like going up and down the stairs, and lifting a pint of milk. She also suffers from flashbacks, nightmares and PTSD like symptoms.
He denied causing ‘serious injury’ to Samantha Cook, 25, by dangerous driving but an officer claimed he was driving on the wrong side of the road when he got clipped by McCreadie, it was heard at the Preston Crown Court (stock image)
Another officer, a special constable, suffered minor injuries after being clipped by the police van.
The incident occurred near the former Beast Bank post office which was inspiration for Mrs Goggin’s Post Office in the children’s TV programme Postman Pat. McCreadie had fielded a call of a woman being ‘knocked about’ and he attended the scene.
Prosecutor Andrew Ford told Preston Crown Court how McCreadie was driving downhill in the dark but it only required an ‘ordinary, reasonable, careful and competent assessment’ of how to approach the bends. He suggested ‘just a bit of safe driving’ was needed.
The River Kent runs through Kendal, Cumbria, where Miss Cook was stuck between the wall and the van. McCreadie’s car was ‘not displaying lights or a siren’, the court heard (stock image)
He said ‘tensions were high’ as the first two officers described the man believed to be Miss Cook’s ex-boyfriend as ‘aggressive’ and ‘flailing his arms’ while she appeared frightened.
A witness who had called police she said looked out the window and saw a ‘male hitting a woman, he was topless, and hitting her a number of times’.
An officer went to arrest the violent man and got himself between him and Samantha Cook but he ‘became defensive’ and the pair were shouting at each other.
‘The officer went to grab him and there was a struggle but the man broke free. He appears to have run away up to a gap between the wall and a railing on a road where Sgt McCreadie was driving. The PC was trying to chase the suspect when he saw Sgt McCreadie in the police van. He saw him cross the central white lines and it drove into the oncoming carriageway going downhill, on the wrong side of the road.’
Prosecutor Andrew Ford added how the officer was running uphill while McCreadie was driving the wrong side coming down hill and he had to take ‘evasive action’ to avoid his van.
But he ended up clipping him and his shoulder was knocked with ‘enough force to knock the wing mirror in’.
Miss Cook was in his path when the vehicle mounted the kerb and pinned her against the wall.
The defendant ‘must have reversed and released her, and she fell down from the wall’, the court heard.
‘A witness say the female pinned between the front of the police vehicle and the wall. She was literally stuck between the wall and the van. A man was running away, and a woman was pinned against the wall and she was screaming.
Another local resident said when the police van hit Samantha Cook he says ‘there was an almighty scream’.
McCreadie was ‘not displaying lights or a siren’ and ‘must have known there was a volatile situation in the road’, it was claimed.
Prosecutor Andrew Ford said: ‘The prosecution say this fell far below the reasonable standard of driving.. Full control of the vehicle appears to have been lost by Sgt McCreadie. Experts agree it could have been brought to an emergency stop before hitting Miss Cook and the wall. Experts agree there was sufficient distance to stop the vehicle but it continued straight across. No expert can say why the foot left the brake.’
The court heard the van was travelling at 23mph and slowed to just 7mph when it struck the kerb and mounted the pavement. McCreadie of Burneside, Cumbria later said he was unable to avoid the collision because Miss Cook ran into his path. He denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving.