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Family of woman hit by police car to see evidence

'If somebody is driving at twice the speed limit that calls for an explanation'

09 April, 2021 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Jade Mutua

THE family of a woman killed after being hit by a police car travelling at twice the speed limit say they are still waiting for all the facts.

Jade Mutua, from West Hampstead, died in hospital two days after being struck in Kensington.

Inquest proceedings opened on Tuesday with Westminster Coroner’s Court being told that the car was moving at around 64mph in a 30mph zone when it hit the 22-year-old.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct concluded that there was no evidence to suggest PC Gary Watkinson, who was behind the wheel, was driving dangerously, without due care and attention, or without consideration of other road users.

Ms Mutua’s family say they have not been allowed access to the information gathered by the IOPC.

The police car’s on-board data recorder, street CCTV and video footage captured by the officers’ body-worn cameras has so far been withheld from them.

The inquest was opened at Westminster Coroner’s Court

At Tuesday’s hearing, however, the coroner Mr Bernard Richmond QC ordered the IOPC to disclose copies of all the evidence collected in their enquiries to him with a view to sharing it with all interested parties.

“If somebody is driving 64 in a 30 that calls for an explanation as to why they were driving double the limit,” he told the court.

The upcoming inquest will look at why the police car was being driven at speed.

Following the hearing, Jade’s father Jermain Laxmidas, who lives in Kilburn, said: “My daughter was very bright. She was training to be a social worker because she wanted to help disadvantaged children. She was beautiful.”

He added: “I still haven’t had a proper explanation about what happened. It has been a long time and I don’t have any answers.

Noreen Mutua (above) and family have been fighting for answers

“I believe facts about what happened that night are being hidden. I welcome the coroner’s decision to require the IOPC to provide him with the evidence. I hope to be able to see the evidence for myself shortly.”

Mr Laxmidas is being represented by solicitor Andrew Frederick for Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd. He said “Her [Jade’s] family need answers about what happened.”

Ms Mutua had grown up in Kentish Town and attended St Michael’s Primary School in Camden Town, and then Maria Fidelis Catholic School in Somers Town.

Two days before her death she had moved into her own flat with her dog, Baby, who is now cared for by Ms Mutua’s mother, Noreen Mutua.

A charity has been set up in Jade’s honour, The Jade Mutua Foundation Trust, provides help to disadvantaged young people living in London to access education, training, and employ­ment opportunities.

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