Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Concerns over how police handled fatal bike crash

The Police Ombudsman is investigating a complaint against the PSNI made by the family of a teenager who died in a motorbike accident three years ago, an inquest has heard.

Stephen Moran (17) from Grange Lane, Newtownabbey, died from multiple internal injuries after crashing into a car at the Seven Mile Straight in Antirm on August 13, 2006.

During the inquest held at Antrim Court yesterday, it emerged four investigations, including an independent investigation ordered by the deputy Chief Constable, were carried out into the accident following concerns by the family about how the case was handled by police.

Mr Moran had been out for the day on his motorbike with his uncle Jonathon McCall when the accident occurred.

The driver of the car had been on his way to a friend’s house and was turning left into the driveway when Mr Moran crashed into his passenger side door. He hit the windscreen of the Audi car and landed in a nearby grass verge.

One witness described the crash as a “terrific bang, almost like an aeroplane crash”.

An ambulance was called and neighbours tried to administer mouth-to-mouth.

He later died in Antrim Area Hospital. The driver was interviewed by police three times following the accident but was not prosecuted.

Giving evidence, Mr McCall, who was driving a short distance behind his nephew on a motorbike, said he didn’t see the car appear. He told Coroner Suzanne Anderson he looked down to turn on his reserve tank and when he looked up again the accident was taking place.

However, concerns were raised by Mr Moran’s father, also called Stephen, and other witnesses about “discrepencies” in police photographs used in the investigation. This included claims that debris had been moved from the scene.

But this conflicted with other witness accounts given in court.

A senior police officer from West Midlands Police who led the independent investigation said that the position of the debris would do nothing to affect the findings of the report which were based on tyre marks.

He said Mr Moran was aware of the car but had lost his “focus of attention”. He was not anticipating the vehicle turning left and crashed.

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