A police officer who caused a fatal crash after travelling at up to 110mph while responding to an emergency call has been spared jail after a court heard he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Pc Jamie Holloway, who resigned from West Mercia Police in August after being convicted of causing death by careless driving, was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.
The 51-year-old sobbed in the dock and bowed his head for several seconds at Worcester Crown Court after being told he would not go to prison.
The experienced constable, a qualified advanced driver and trained firearms officer, collided with the rear of David Shaw’s Ford Fiesta on the A449 between Kidderminster and Worcester at 2.51pm on May 28, 2018.
Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Nicolas Cartwright told the former officer that no sentence could alter the “enormous” loss caused to Mr Shaw’s widow, sister and three sons.
The trial was told that Mr Shaw had been in a queue of traffic travelling at 37mph, and was signalling and moving to turn right as he was struck by Holloway’s unmarked BMW X5, which had its lights and sirens on in a 50mph zone.
Mr Shaw, aged 53, died in hospital two weeks after the crash.
Pointing out that officers responding to emergencies were entitled to break the speed limit, the judge told Holloway: “What you were not permitted to do was to drive without due care and attention or due consideration for other road users.
“This was the third similar intersection on this road over which you travelled at over 100mph.
“Nobody in Mr Shaw’s position would have expected a car to overtake. You should have been thinking of that when you drove over that (hatched) area.”
Although the judge ruled that Holloway’s speed had been far too high, he accepted that he was driving in response to a genuine emergency.
Suspending Holloway’s sentence for two years and ordering him to make a £2,300 contribution to the Crown’s costs, the judge added: “You are a man with no previous convictions of any kind and with previous exemplary character.
“Having seen your demeanour in the witness box I do accept you are remorseful despite your plea of not guilty.
“I have come to the conclusion that it (the sentence) can be suspended.”
Offering mitigation, defence QC Matthew Butt said Holloway’s only motivation had been trying to save life, telling the judge: “You are about to sentence a man who has devoted his entire working life to serving his country within the Army and then the community within the police force.
“Mr Holloway is devastated, depressed and tearful when talking about what he has done and the impact it has had on Mr Shaw’s family.
“His conviction means he will never work in this field again.”
The court was told Holloway, who was in the car with a colleague, crashed while responding to a call for back-up from other police officers dealing with a suicidal man who had a “tendency towards violence”.
Victim impact statements were read to the court on behalf of Mr Shaw’s wife Fiona, his sister Catherine, and his three sons.
In the statements, relatives described Mr Shaw as a “loving, kind, generous man” who always “put his family first as his main priority.”
In a statement released after the hearing, the family members said: “On bank holiday Monday, 28th May 2018, David Shaw left home for a short drive to fill the car with petrol for a family trip.
“David never returned home.
“David was a loving husband who was devoted to his family and a professional in his industry for over three decades, respected by clients and colleagues alike.
“The family have been devastated by this incident and have waited three long years to understand the full details of the case and for justice to be served.
“David’s loss of life needs to make a difference, and the family hopes that all actions will be taken to avoid this type of horrific and unnecessary incident happening in the future.
“To this end, the family supports this incident being used as a case study for police officers in the West Mercia Police Force and, indeed, other police forces, prior to officers commencing work in a role where there is the justification for high speeds.”