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Police cleared over chase crash which left boy with life-changing injuries

Police at the scene in Goring Road, Ipswich  Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Police at the scene in Goring Road, Ipswich Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

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Investigators have found no evidence that police involved in a chase which left a schoolboy with life-changing injuries should be subject to any disciplinary or criminal action.

Michael Neto Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARYMichael Neto Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

An 11-year-old boy was left in a wheelchair after being hit by fleeing driver Michael Neto while walking to school in Ipswich at about 8.30am on October 18, 2018.

Neto, then 27, of Baldwins Gardens, Clerkenwell, was jailed for 38 months after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving, without insurance or a licence, possessing cannabis, failing to stop when required and failing to stop after an accident. He was disqualified from driving for five years - to run consecutively with 19 months remaining of another driving ban.

Police pursued Neto's Renault Clio from Cauldwell Hall Road into Halliwell Road, where it struck the child before colliding with another vehicle and a garden wall in Goring Road.

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Neto, who attempted to flee on foot but was arrested, told officers he believed a pedestrian may have been hit during the pursuit.

The boy, who was taken to Ipswich Hospital with broken legs and facial injuries, required the use of a wheelchair and facial surgery as a result of the crash.

The incident was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which this week published findings from its investigation.

Investigators attended the scene and supervised the gathering of evidence before analysing the accounts of officers in conjunction with available footage. They also obtained the accounts of witnesses, as well as police documentation relevant to the collision, and examined policy relating to pursuits, alongside the other available evidence, to see if it had been followed adequately.

Police at the scene in Goring Road, Ipswich  Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYPolice at the scene in Goring Road, Ipswich Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

The IOPC said: 'The police driver stated that he decided to pursue the suspect vehicle, with the goal of pulling it over by using blue lights and sirens. This was in order to detain the driver, based on the available intelligence that he was wanted in relation to a number of serious offences.

'All the evidence suggested that the child was struck by the driver while he was pursued by the police. Based on the evidence available, we found no indication that any person serving with the police may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings, or had committed a criminal offence.'

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