A SOUTH Lakes police officer has been cleared of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Preston Crown Court.

Sgt Graeme McCreadie, 54, always maintained he had not been driving dangerously when he responded to an emergency call to help a woman who was being assaulted in Beast Banks, Kendal.

As Sgt McCreadie approached the scene at around 1am on May 6 2018 he saw the woman’s ex partner running up the hill, followed on foot by two officers.

He tried to stop the van in the road in a bid to help his colleagues by influencing the direction the man could run in.

But as he slowed towards the scene the vehicle mounted the kerb, clipping Sgt McCreadie’s colleague and crushing Samantha Cook, 27, between the van and the wall.

Ms Cook said: “It hurt really bad.”

During a week long trial at Preston Crown Court, Ms Cook told the jury she suffered injuries to her pelvis, spine and genitals.

Sgt McCreadie, who has been driving police van for almost 16 years and drives a camper van when he is not on duty, said he did not understand why the vehicle did not stop.

Experts analysed the scene and the van and found the driver’s foot had left the brake pedal moments before the Ford Transit van mounted the kerb.

Sgt McCreadie said: “Knowing that it was [off the brake] and my recollection that the vehicle wasn’t stopping as it ought to, it seems clear to me now that my foot must have slipped from the brake.

“It was an accident.”

The jury took an hour and a half to return not guilty verdicts on the charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by careless driving.

Following the collision, the incident was reported to the IOPC.

Paul Williams, Chair of Cumbria Police Federation, said: "This has been a long arduous ordeal for all involved in the incident ending in a seven day crown court trial. During the trial as the judge rightly commented this is a case of fact and there was a great deal of evidence including body worn video and expert witnesses that contributed a great deal of facts to the case.

"This was the right result with all the facts presented though this demonstrates the risks our officers take when they go to work every day and the quick time decision making they have to make."

He added: "This case has taken 15 months to come to trial and I would hope some learning is considered for the IOPC and CPS who presented the case. This is something the Federation has been long presenting that police officers are unnecessarily waiting for months, sometimes years, to be cleared of wrong doing when ultimately carrying out their duties."