Injured woman froze to death in cemetery after PCSOs stopped search in 10 minutes

·Freelance Writer
·3 min read
Jacqueline Parsons froze to death in a cemetery after PCSOs called off a search after less than 10 minutes. (SWNS)
Jacqueline Parsons froze to death in a cemetery after PCSOs called off a search after less than 10 minutes. (SWNS)

An injured woman froze to death in a cemetery after PCSOs called off a search to find in her in less than 10 minutes.

Officers from Humberside Police didn’t step foot outside of their car to look for Jacqueline Parsons, 56, as she lay dying in Western Cemetery in Hull, East Yorkshire, on 27 October, 2018.

Ms Parsons had fallen off her bike and injured herself, prompting a passer-by to call police from home as he didn't have a mobile and feared she'd be locked in overnight.

Following the initial call at around 4.45pm, the incident had been logged as urgent.

But it took until 6.20pm for two PCSOs to be dispatched to assist a woman described as being under the influence, according to solicitors representing Ms Parsons’ family.

The dispatcher said that only a "quick area search" was required given the time which had passed since the initial call without any further reports, Hudgell Solicitors said.

Her body was discovered by a dog walker the following morning – almost 17 hours after the first call was made to police.

An inquest into Ms Parsons’ death heard that at no point did the officers leave their vehicle and the search was called off after about 10 minutes as she hadn't been found.

Jacqueline Parsons' body was discovered by a dog walker in Western Cemetery, Hull. (Ian S/Geograph/Creative Commons)
Jacqueline Parsons' body was discovered by a dog walker in Western Cemetery, Hull. (Ian S/Geograph/Creative Commons)

It heard their search consisted of them driving slowly with their car windows down to scan the land adjacent to the main cemetery road which looped around the cemetery.

Neither were trained in search techniques and their torches were not as powerful as dedicated lighting systems that marked police vehicles are equipped with.

It ruled that freezing overnight temperatures, the alcohol in her system and the injury to her ankle from falling off her bike had all contributed to her death.

Humberside Police has now agreed to pay damages to her loved ones after they took legal action, alleging the force’s failures were a breach of its duty of care to protect the right to life.

Ms Parsons’ brother Stephen, 64, said he'd been left angry at the "basic failings" and had taken legal action to ensure lessons were learned.

Two PCSO officers did not leave their car during the brief search for Jacqueline Parsons. (Getty/stock photo)
Two PCSO officers did not leave their car during the brief search for Jacqueline Parsons. (Getty/stock photo)

He said: "Still to this day I can't come to terms with the fact that Jacqueline would still be here if the police had just done their jobs and done a proper search of the area.

"“If they’d just got out of their car and walked around it is likely she’d have been found.

"I remember it was a cold and wet day and I have always wondered how much that influenced what happened.

“To think of her left there alone is heartbreaking.”

Adam Biglin, from Hudgell Solicitors, described the search as "wholly inadequate in terms of both approach and attitude”.

He added: "The police failed to do their job of investigating and instead made a number of assumptions.

"These assumptions, and failings to follow proper procedures, proved fatal.”

Yahoo News UK has contacted Humberside Police for comment.

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