Statement in case involving deaths of Daniel Atkinson and Jade Rice in January 2006

18/02/2015

A statement from Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside.

Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said:

"First, I would like, again, to express my sincere condolences to Ms Hawker for the tragic loss of her son Daniel in January 2006.

"The CPS has done its utmost to bring this case to trial.  The car Daniel and Jade were travelling in left the road and first hit a tree, then a lamp post. This double impact meant the subsequent investigation was very complex.  The police made extensive enquiries prior to the trial, including with the country's leading experts in the field, to calculate the speed of the vehicle. No expert could be found who could give evidence on this point.

"When the original trial collapsed in November 2006, the police had further discussions with these leading experts, who previously had been unable to assist.  However in the subsequent discussions with a senior police officer, they advised that whilst no guarantees could be given they were willing to attempt to reconstruct the double impact collision to try and arrive at a reliable result.

"These tests found that the vehicle was travelling in excess of 50mph. The CPS then applied to a High Court Judge to allow a new trial to take place.  But this new evidence was not accepted as sufficient to resurrect the case when it went before a High Court Judge, Mrs Justice Swift in November 2007.

"This case has been examined not only in CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, but also by a High Court Judge, the Attorney-General, and two former Directors of Public Prosecution, along with the DPPs Principal Legal Advisor.  The former DPP, Keir Starmer also met Ms Hawker in person in 2010 and explained our position, writing in a subsequent letter to the families that he personally disagreed with  Mrs Justice Swifts decision.

"It is unfortunate, given the complexity and sensitivity of this case that the letter sent by West Yorkshires PCC, Mark Burns-Williamson to Ms Hawker contained inaccuracies.  West Yorkshire Police did not ask us to adjourn the case to obtain more evidence.  Neither did we fast track the case.  It was listed for trial in the normal way.

"I am very conscious that at the heart of this case are two bereaved families. Unfortunately, the situation remains the same.  There are no further legal avenues open to us which would allow us to resurrect the case.  I do understand that this is a very difficult situation for the families to accept, and I have every sympathy for them."