Police officer jailed over Boxing Day crash that left boy, 15, with life-changing injuries

A police officer has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after hitting a teenager with her squad car which left the boy with life-changing injuries.

PC Sarah De Meulemeester was responding to an emergency call when she struck Khia Whitehead, 15, as he crossed a road in Stockport on Boxing Day 2020.

He was left with significant injuries and requires around-the-clock care.

De Meulemeester was found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court last month.

Evidence heard during the trial showed the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer’s vehicle reached speeds of 61mph prior to the collision in Garners Lane, where the speed limit was 30mph.

The 26-year-old was sentenced on Friday and disqualified from driving for 15 months.

Khia’s family said in a statement afterwards: “We are delighted with the outcome of this case and thank the judge for making his decision.

“We know nothing is ever going to be justice for what she did to our family and destroying our son’s life.

“Her jail sentence is not going to bring Khia back but having her held accountable for her actions sets a tone to all the other police officers who continuously break their own laws. No emergency is so great that it justifies injuring or killing someone, it is better to arrive late than not at all.

“Police officers are not above the law and will be investigated and brought to justice.

“We would like to thank the IOPC [Independent Office for Police Conduct] for their thorough investigation and our amazing community for all their continued love and support. We really couldn’t have got through the past two years without you all.

“We hope now that this outcome will bring our family some peace and we can let some of this pain go and focus all our love and attention back into helping Khia come back to us. We will never give up on him.”

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Following a mandatory referral by GMP, police watchdog the IOPC launched an investigation into the driving of three officers who were responding in convoy to a report of a domestic incident involving a man with a knife.

As a basic level police driver, De Meulemeester was required to observe all speed limits and was not entitled to use the statutory exemptions available to police drivers who have received advanced training.

De Meulemeester initially told investigators she had been travelling at a “normal road speed” and declined to answer further questions in an interview about the manner of her driving and her reasons for it.

She overtook a member of the public’s car and, in doing so, went on the wrong side of a traffic island and struck Khia as he was crossing the road.