Parents may launch private prosecution after son hit by lorry on crossing (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Durham parents of former Northallerton man plan private prosecution after his death on Bristol crossing
THE parents of a teaching assistant who died after being struck by a lorry on a pedestrian crossing may launch a private prosecution after a coroner ruled that his death was accidental.
John and Janet Thompson, of Belmont, Durham City, said they wanted answers and justice over the case of their son, Jake, who died in hospital five days after the incident in May last year.
An inquest at Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court, in Somerset, heard it was unclear whether the traffic light was red when Mr Thompson, 27, stepped onto the A37 in Bristol and sustained head injuries.
The hearing was told it had been established lorry driver Paul Vowles was travelling at 38mph in a 30mph zone moments before the incident.
Following former Northallerton resident Mr Thompson’s death, his ex-pupils from special needs schools planted trees in his memory at Heaton Park, Newcastle, and in Bristol.
Coroner Maria Voisin concluded that the case was clouded by contradictory witness evidence, while Sergeant David Loat, who led the investigation into the incident, said a number of witnesses had been untraceable.
John Thompson, a semiretired nurse, said the coroner’s verdict was a further blow to the former Durham Johnston School pupil’s family, after the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) recent decision not to prosecute the lorry driver.
He said: “We are stunned and extremely disappointed by this ruling.
“To have to sit helplessly by while the police and the CPS decide not to do anything about charging a lorry driver travelling at 38mph in a 30mph limit and who possibly hit our son while the lights were changing on a pedestrian crossing is totally unbelievable.”
Mr Thompson said they would make a decision in the coming weeks over whether to launch a private prosecution against Mr Vowles. They have referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over the “inadequate”
He said: “We are not seeking revenge, but this isn’t justice.
No driver should get away without a point on his licence while we will never see our son again.”
A CPS spokesman said the senior lawyer who led the Joanna Yeates murder trial had thoroughly reviewed Mr Thompson’s case, but had concluded there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of a criminal conviction.
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