The High Court has found the Metropolitan Police liable for the death of pensioner John Mills and awarded his family compensation.
On July 12 2017, John Edwards Mills, 71, was crossing Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London when he was hit by a police van displaying blue lights and sounding its siren. The driver, PC Upton, was responding to an emergency call.
Mr Mills sustained severe brain and chest injuries, which sadly led to his death on March 14, 2018.
PC Upton was driving at 23 mph in a 20-mph zone, through a green light when the incident occurred. Mr Mills who was using a walking stick at the time had stepped out into the road against a red light for pedestrians. The evidence was that Mr Mills should have been visible to PC Upton for over four seconds but unfortunately PC Upton did not see Mr Mills until he was very close, and by then PC Upton was unable to stop.
Mr Justice Turner assessed liability as equally shared between Mr Mills and the Metropolitan Police. Previously the Metropolitan Police had refused to accept any responsibility at all.
The family of John Mills has released the following statement:
“The family’s thoughts today are very much with Dad, John Mills, a much-loved father and grandfather, who we sadly lost six years ago.
It has been very hard indeed for us to come to terms with his loss particularly in circumstances where none of us were able to say goodbye. We fully accept that PS Upton never intended the tragic consequences of his actions that day and have no doubt that sadly this has affected him badly too. But we have been in court today because the Metropolitan Police or their Insurers who will actually pay compensation have never accepted any responsibility at all for Dad’s death. They didn’t at the Coroners Court and they haven’t at any stage in this claim. This was despite Dad being directly in front of the van for at least three seconds before PS Upton noticed him. He should have noticed Dad much sooner and if he had Dad would be alive today. That was a lapse on PS Upton’s part which the Met should have acknowledged long ago.
We have always accepted that Dad bears some responsibility because he shouldn’t have tried to cross the road when he did and should have seen PS Upton’s approaching van. But we have also said that the Police must take some responsibility and today the Judge has said it must.
We are very pleased that the Judge has endorsed our view. This has been a long and painful journey for everyone concerned including PS Upton and we hope that the Judgment is closure for all and finally everyone is able to move on.”
Representing the family, Hugh Potter, Partner at Hugh James added:
“I’m delighted that the family of Mr Mills finally have recognition for what happened to their much-loved father. It’s disappointing that Metropolitan Police never accepted any responsibility and so it has been necessary for them to take this matter to court. This has been a long and difficult process for the family and I am very pleased that the Judge found as he has.”