Policeman 'driving at almost twice the speed limit when he crashed and killed bride-to-be'

A police officer was driving at almost twice the speed limit when he crashed head-on into a car killing a young woman, a court heard today.

PC Thomas Hart, 28, was responding to an emergency call when he lost control of his marked Cleveland Police van on a bend and collided with the Peugeot 207 driven by Aimee Welsh, 25.

Teesside Crown Court heard that Hart was doing 77mph on a road with a 40mph limit when the crash happened at around 2.15am on October 18 last year.

Miss Welsh and her fiance Anthony Theakston, the front seat passenger, were cut free from the black automatic hatchback. Miss Welsh died in hospital a month later from her injuries.

Prosecutor Tim Parkin told the court: 'The prosecution case is quite simple. The only rational explanation for that collision is the speed the defendant was driving that van.

'The defendant entered a bend at 77mph and at that speed lost control and crossed the lane and struck the vehicle driven by Aimee Welsh head-on.'

PC Thomas Hart, accused of causing death by careless driving
Aimee Welsh

Head-on collision: PC Thomas Hart, 28, denies causing the death of Aimee Welsh (right) through careless driving while responding to an emergency call

Mr Parkin said Hart was responding to an emergency call, which was classed at 'zero' - meaning it was a 'high priority'.

However, that did not 'absolve' the officer from blame, the prosecutor said.

Mr Parkin said that no criticism could be made of the driving of Miss Welsh.

Hart, of Ryhope, Sunderland, denies a charge of causing death by careless driving.

The jury heard the crash happened on the A1032 Tees Bridge Approach Road, near Middlesbrough.

Miss Welsh and her fiance were travelling home to Thornaby, near Stockton on Tees, after visiting relatives.

Her sister Tracy Robinson had just agreed to act as a surrogate for the couple, as Miss Welsh - who suffered from cystic fibrosis and diabetes - could not have children.

In a statement read to the court Mr Theakston, 25, said he and Miss Welsh were looking forward to a future together and were planning their wedding.

'My attention was drawn to the vehicle due to its speed,' he said.

'It was going fast. I would estimate its speed at around 70mph to 80mph.

'The second I saw the van it began to lose control due to its speed. It crossed the central carriageway and it was about 250 yards ahead of us.

I shouted "Aimee" and she started breaking. There was an almighty bang which was deafening.'

The court heard that Mr Theakston suffered a fractured eye socket, twisted knee and whiplash in the crash.

Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.