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Suspect named in hunt for driver who left police officer with head injuries

PC Chris Burnham is in a critical condition after being hit by a car in Coventry.

Tekle Lennox (West Midlands Police/PA)
Tekle Lennox (West Midlands Police/PA)

By Matthew Cooper, PA

Detectives have named a suspect wanted in connection with a hit-and-run which left a policeman with life-threatening head injuries.

Members of the public have been warned not to approach 37-year-old Tekle Lennox, who is being sought after PC Chris Burnham was knocked down on Wednesday in Radford, Coventry.

The officer, who is in an induced coma in hospital, was struck after getting out of his police car to speak to the driver of a Mini who had stopped in a queue of traffic.

Urging people to come forward with information about Lennox, who is from Coventry, Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Payne said: “We are taking the unusual step of naming a suspect in this case – naming Tekle Lennox as the man that we want to speak to in relation to the hit-and-run.

“We are seeking the public’s assistance now in trying to locate Tekle Lennox.

“We have undertaken search warrants at a number of locations across Coventry.

“We’re proactively seeking him as we speak, but we really could do with anybody who has seen Tekle Lennox or may have information with regards to his whereabouts, please pick up the phone and call us on 101 or 999.”

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PC Christopher Burnham, who suffered a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain in a hit-and-run in Coventry (West Midlands Police/PA)

Mr Payne, the head of CID at West Midlands Police, said: “We would say to the public, please don’t approach him yourselves. Pick up the phone and we’ll come and take it from there.”

He said police believe Lennox is still in the Coventry area, and people will know where he is.

“If they know where he is and are offering him refuge, they are breaking the law and will also be arrested.

“To Lennox, I would say: It’s just a matter of time before we get to you. Do the right thing and hand yourself in now.”

Commenting on the incident, Mr Payne said: “We are clear that PC Burnham was carrying out normal duties. We believe the (Mini) car came to a natural stop.

“Chris has alighted from his vehicle and then has been struck by the vehicle.”

Mr Payne added: “Chris remains critically ill. He is being very well cared for by colleagues in the National Health Service and clearly these remain very concerning times for Chris and his family.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “My thoughts are with Chris, his family and friends following this this atrocious act.

“Every day our brave officers put themselves at risk to keep us safe and go towards danger when the rest of us run away.

“Chris has spent the past 25 years protecting the people of the West Midlands and is a dedicated neighbourhood officer, embedded in the community he serves.

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West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson condemned the incident (Richard Vernalls/PA Wire)

“I am sure that the public will join me in total revulsion at this crime and share my thanks to our brave and dedicated officers and staff who put themselves in danger every day.”

The Mini was recovered near the scene and officers are examining CCTV footage, as well as appealing for anyone with dash cam footage of what happened to come forward.

PC Burnham, who is married and has a 10-year-old son, was knocked down at the junction of Holbrook Lane and Burnaby Road at about 2.45pm.

The officer, who has served with the West Midlands force for 25 years, was left with a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain and a shattered knee.

PA

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