Published: 14:08, 15 January 2020
| Updated: 08:57, 17 January 2020
Police have been cleared of any blame after a chase by officers ended in a crash which killed two women.
An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the crash near Canterbury concluded the police pursuit beforehand was carried out appropriately.
Lucy Leadbeater, 27, of Hyton Drive, Deal, was driving a Toyota Yaris when it collided with a tree killing herself and front seat passenger Cassey Hood, 18, of Folkestone Road, Dover.
Two men who were sitting in the back of the Yaris suffered serious injuries.
The Yaris was being pursued by officers from Kent Police at the time of the collision on Friday, September 14, 2018, in Womenswold, near Canterbury, in the early hours of the morning.
Kent Police made a mandatory referral and the IOPC began an independent investigation during which it obtained statements from the officers involved.
Their body-worn video footage was examined and the vehicle journey data recorder was downloaded and analysed.
Investigators at the IOPC concluded it's investigation in March last year, when we passed a copy of our findings to the women’s families and Kent Police.
All police officers were treated as witnesses during the course of the investigation which explored the circumstances leading up to the collision.
The police van followed the Yaris after officers spotted it driving at speed near Canterbury Police Station.
The driver of the Yaris pulled in to a lay-by just off the A2 and the police van pulled alongside.
Officers were getting out of the police van when Miss Leadbeater drove off and the van followed, activating its lights and sirens, requesting pursuit authorisation.
Officers then found the Toyota Yaris had crashed in Nethersole Road.
An inquest held at Maidstone Archbishop’s Palace on Monday, heard that that both women died as a result of a the crash and Miss Leadbeater, a mum-of-one was over the drink drive limit at the time and was also uninsured and said to be driving "dangerously" when she hit the tree.
Sarah Green, IOPC regional director, said: “My sympathies remain with all of those affected by this tragic event in which two young women lost their lives.
"It was important that we examined all of the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“Our investigation found it was only 73 seconds from when the Yaris drove off from the lay-by to when it crashed.
"The collision was not captured on the officer’s body worn video. We shared a copy of our report and findings with the coroner, the police and the families.”
More by this authorLynn Cox