Police officer jailed after paralysing boy by smashing into him while speeding

19 May 2023, 16:17 | Updated: 19 May 2023, 16:29

Sarah De Meulemeester
Sarah De Meulemeester. Picture: Handout

By Kit Heren

A police officer has been jailed after leaving a boy with catastrophic injuries by hitting him while speeding on the wrong side of the road.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

PC Sarah De Meulemeester was driving a police car while responding to an emergency call when she ploughed into Khia Whitehead, 15, in Stockport on Boxing Day 2020.

Greater Manchester Police officer De Meulemeester, 26, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after being found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court last month.

Khia, who has been left in a vegetative state, and still needs round-the-clock nursing care.

The tragic incident took place when three officers driving in convoy were racing out to a report of a domestic incident involving a man with a knife.

De Meulemeester's vehicle reached speeds of 61mph ahead of the collision on Garners Lane - more than double the speed limit of 30mph.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

Khia Whitehead
Khia Whitehead. Picture: Handout

As a basic level police driver, De Meulemeester had to stick to the speed limit, unlike drivers who have advanced training.

When the information about the knife came through on the radio, another officer who was allowed to drive above the speed limit overtook De Meulemeester's vehicle and switched on emergency lights.

Read more: Mastermind behind multi-million pound iSpoof site brought down in UK's biggest fraud sting jailed for more than 13 years

Read more: Parents who left morbidly obese daughter to die in maggot-infested bed have sentences increased to 18 years

De Meulemeester slowed down at first to allow her colleague to overtake, but then increased her speed again.

She initially told investigators she had been travelling at a "normal road speed" and declined to answer further questions in interview about the manner of her driving and her reasons for it.

Khia Whitehead
Khia Whitehead. Picture: Handout

While on Garners Lane in Stockport, De Meulemeester overtook a member of the public's car and, in doing so, went on the wrong side of a traffic island and struck Khia as he was crossing the road.

Khia was left with significant injuries and requires around-the-clock care.

Read more: Furious passer-by throws female eco-activist to the ground, rips banners and smashes phones as group hold up traffic

Read more: Met Police officer fired for sexually assaulting a child, in latest scandal to rock the embattled force

After De Meulemeester was jailed, Khia's family said in a statement: "We are delighted with the outcome of this case and thank the judge for making his decision.

"We know nothing is ever going to be justice for what she did to our family and destroying our son's life.

"Her jail sentence is not going to bring Khia back but having her held accountable for her actions sets a tone to all the other police officers who continuously break their own laws.

Khia Whitehead
Khia Whitehead. Picture: Handout

"No emergency is so great that it justifies injuring or killing someone, it is better to arrive late than not at all.

"Police officers are not above the law and will be investigated and brought to justice.

"We would like to thank the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) for their thorough investigation and our amazing community for all their continued love and support.

"We really couldn't have got through the past two years without you all. We hope now that this outcome will bring our family some peace and we can let some of this pain go and focus all our love and attention back into helping Khia come back to us. We will never give up on him."

Sarah De Meulemeester (L)
Sarah De Meulemeester (L). Picture: .

IOPC regional director Catherine Bates said: "While today's verdict brings these criminal proceedings to an end, the effects of this collision on the lives of Khia and his family will last a lifetime.

"Our investigation has ensured Pc De Meulemeester was held accountable for her dangerous actions that day, which had devastating consequences for Khia.

"Now criminal matters have concluded, it will be for Greater Manchester Police to arrange misconduct hearings for Pc De Meulemeester and another officer we found has a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to their driving prior to the collision."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

India Election Narendra Modi

India starts voting as Narendra Modi seeks third term as prime minister

Rishi Sunak is to call for an end to the "sick note culture".

End of the 'sick note': Rishi Sunak to stop GPs signing people off work in welfare scheme overhaul

Andrew Malkinson

'Too little, too late': Andrew Malkinson rejects Criminal Cases Review Commission's apology after being wrongly jailed

Argentina NATO

Argentina asks to join Nato as President Milei seeks more prominent role

An officer threatened to arrest the man for 'breaching the peace'

Shocking moment Met police officer threatens to arrest man for being 'quite openly Jewish' at pro-Palestine march

Israel Palestinians UN Security Council

US vetoes widely supported UN resolution backing full membership for Palestine

Trump Hush Money

Twelve jurors confirmed for Trump hush money trial

Jonathan Hall KC admitted refugees have previously been let into the UK without the full checks.

Refugees have been admitted to UK ‘without proper checks’ as Border Force is 'too overwhelmed’, terror watchdog says

Jeremy Clarkson was seen comforting his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, after tragedy stuck Diddly Squat Farm when two piglets died in an emotional scene captured on an episode of Clarkson's Farm

Jeremy Clarkson comforts sobbing girlfriend after tragedy strikes Diddly Squat Farm in new series

Lord Nick Houghton speaks to LBC’s Andrew Marr.

Ukraine 'is fighting proxy war on behalf of Nato', says ex-military chief as he criticises 'incoherent' defence spending

Peter Murrell has been charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the Scottish National Party.

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell charged in connection with embezzlement of funds from SNP

Kenya’s military chief General Francis Ogolla

Kenya’s military chief dies in helicopter crash

Sydney Sweeney hit back at the comments about her.

Sydney Sweeney hits back at 'sad and shameful' producer who said she ‘can’t act’ and ‘isn’t pretty’

Jonathan Hall has hit out at WhatsApp over the lowering of the age limit.

UK’s terror watchdog hits out at WhatsApp over lowering of age limit as he says more kids are being radicalised online

Lost Star Trek Model

Long-lost first model of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise finally returned home

Comedy writer Graham Linehan took to X, formerly known as Twitter, said that while plans for the "surefire hit" were underway, "trans activists were busy trying to destroy [his] life."

Graham Linehan rages at trans activists busy trying to 'destroy' his life as he teases Father Ted musical in works