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Onese Power inquest: ‘Duration and intensity’ of police pursuit contributed to death

Fresh jury inquest returns conclusion

11 March, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Onese Power

THE “duration and intensity” of a police pursuit in which a motorcyclist died two decades ago contributed to his death, a jury has concluded.

An 11-person jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court ruled out in a narrative conclusion that the marked police car had hit experienced motorcyclist Onese Power during the high speed chase in 1997.

However, they said although the initiation of the pursuit was “proportionate” and “in line” with guidelines, the “duration and intensity” contributed to 51-year-old Mr Power’s death.

They added: “Further escalation of the risk particularly from Patshull Road was inadequately assessed and not communicated to the central control centre. This meant the pursuit continued.” 

They also concluded: “There was insufficient evidence to determine whether the proximity of the pursuit vehicle to the motorcycle in Royal College Street was a contributory factor to the death of Mr Power.”

Mr Power, 51, was pursued by police from near Holloway Prison, on Parkhurst Road, after he failed to stop for the officers.

The three to four minute pursuit – through Tufnell Park Road, to Fortess Road and then along Kentish Town Road and residential roads – went through five traffic lights before Mr Power came off his bike on Royal College Street. 

He was pronounced dead the same day at the Royal Free Hospital.

A previous inquest was held in 1998 but it was decided by the High Court in December 2017 that a fresh hearing should be launched in the interests of justice.

His wife Ann Power told the court the family knew the first inquest was “unsatisfactory”, unaware of most of the details in the case as she entered the court. 

She told the jury at the start of the inquest: “We simply cannot understand how such a skilled and experienced motorcyclist, as Onese undoubtedly was, could or would have lost control of a motorbike, with which he was so familiar, on the gently arcing section of road as the two pursuing police officers allege.”

Mrs Power added: “Onese would never ever have wanted to have left us. Although life has had to go on around us, my boys and I have been stuck in our own personal grief that we have been trying to come to terms with for the last 21 years, and for this we need closure.”

The jury said the immediate causes of the road traffic collision were a combination of excessive speed coming into the bend at Royal College Street, the position on the road and the application of the bike’s front brake resulting in the motorbike hitting the kerb and Mr Power being thrown from his bike.

The Met Police have been approached for comment.

*Pick up a copy of Thursday’s Camden New Journal for more on the case

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