The death of a Harrogate police officer killed in the line of duty when his police van hit a tree has been ruled accidental by a coroner.
PC Andrew Bramma – who had been serving with the Harrogate force for just four months when he died on Saturday, January 5 – lost control of his Ford Transit van on a left-hand bend on the A6108 (Ripon to Masham road), in West Tanfield.
Presiding at Harrogate Magistrates Court yesterday, coroner Rob Turnbull said, based on medical reports, that PC Bramma died instantaneously of multiple head injuries, at around 7pm.
At the time of the collision, the court heard PC Bramma had been on a 999 emergency call travelling on country roads of speeds of up to 60-70mph to attend a two-vehicle road collision involving a suspected drink driver in Masham.
But in evidence, senior investigating officer Insp Michael Barron said fellow officers had already arrived at Masham and were about to inform PC Bramma, leading Insp Barron to speculate the Harrogate officer would have slowed down and turned off his blue emergency vehicle lights.
In a witness statement, David Robinson – who found PC Bramma at the scene of the crash – said PC Bramma was wearing a seatbelt and the driver’s window had been shattered.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Turnbull said PC Bramma’s approach and speed had been “simply an error of judgement”.
“I am sure that if events had panned out differently he would have been told not to drive at that speed,” he said.