A woman has been cleared of causing a fatal crash which killed a well known Thames Valley Police Officer who appeared on TV’s Road Wars and a 91-year-old woman.
PC James ‘Dixie’ Dixon and Gladys Goodwin were killed in Wargrave, Berkshire in December 2017.
A jury found Agne Jasulaitiene not guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
PC Dixon’s motorbike struck the side of her Toyota as she turned right, Reading Crown Court heard.
The jury returned their verdicts after an hour of deliberations over the crash.
The trial had heard care assistant Ms Jasulaitiene, 36, had been driving Mrs Goodwin from lunch when the crash happened at the junction of Blakes Lane and the A4 Bath Road.
The court heard how PC Dixon was taking part in a police surveillance exercise training HMRC students posted abroad.
PC Dixon was a highly trained advanced driver and motorcyclist having gone through weeks of specialist training.
Speaking outside the court after the trial, PC Dixon’s widow Samantha – who is also a serving Thames Valley Police Officer – said her husband “will be forever missed and never forgotten”.
“Our hearts and thoughts also extend to the family of Gladys Goodwin. They also lost a key member of their family in this collision,” she added.
“We now need to process all the distressing things we’ve heard and seen over the last seven days of the trial and then attempt to move forward as best as we can”.
Following the verdict, Assistant Chief Constable Tim De Meyer released the following statement:
“On Tuesday 5 December 2017, PC James Dixon was on a joint training exercise with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Thames Valley Police (TVP) which led to a collision between his police motorcycle and a car.
“PC Dixon and Mrs Goodwin, who was a passenger in the car, died following the collision.
“This tragic case has affected many people and their families, friends and colleagues.
“PC Dixon’s widow Samantha Dixon, an officer with us at Thames Valley Police, known to her colleagues as Sam Allen, is of course very much in our thoughts, along with the family of Gladys Goodwin.
“Sam has been supported by specially trained Family Liaison Officers throughout this difficult period.
“The welfare of officers and staff affected by this incident is also being carefully managed.
“Police colleagues have supported each other in mourning a wonderful officer, who was affectionately known as Dixie. It is in times of such adversity that the police family demonstrates its extraordinary strength and unity.
“The force has received thousands of messages of support and touching tributes to Dixie, for which we are extremely grateful.
“During the trial we heard more detail about the incident in Wargrave in December 2017.
“The experts in the trial could not be sure of the exact speed at which PC Dixon was travelling. Furthermore, we cannot speculate on PC Dixon’s reason for travelling at a particular speed.
“However, all officers are aware that if they break the speed limit, it must be justifiable.
“Surveillance officers attend an Advanced Driver Course as well as a College of Policing surveillance course.
“Refresher training is mandatory for Advanced Drivers and Riders, and in order to maintain their accreditation, officers must deploy as per Authorised Professional Practice.
“PC Dixon had completed his mandatory training prior to the incident in December 2017.
“All learning from this case will be carefully considered and acted upon where appropriate.
“Quite properly, since a Thames Valley Police officer was killed, the case was subject to two independent investigations, by Sussex Police and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) respectively.
“Sussex Police brought the case to court, where today a jury, having listened to all the evidence, has found Agne Jasulaitiene not guilty of two counts of causing death by careless driving.
“The IOPC carried out an independent investigation into the planning and preparation of the training exercise including risk assessments and the manner of PC Dixon’s driving. They will decide in due course as to whether this report will be published.
“I hope that these independent investigations will at least provide some answers to the families of Mrs Goodwin and PC Dixon. But we understand that they cannot compensate for the dreadful loss of their loved ones.
“Thames Valley Police will continue to support all those affected by this incident however we can.”
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