A ‘kind and beautiful’ mother-of-three who was killed by a police vehicle after a chase involving a suspected stolen vehicle has been named.
Heather Smedley, 53, died a short time after being taken to hospital following the collision, which happened at around 10am on Friday in Shaw Road, Oldham.
She was involved in a collision with a police vehicle after a ‘short pursuit’ of the suspect vehicle, Greater Manchester Police said.
Ms Smedley’s family paid tribute to ‘the most kind, gentle, beautiful soul inside and out’ in a statement released by the force on Friday evening.
The incident was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which has since confirmed it has launched an investigation into police actions leading up to it.
Ms Smedley’s family said: ‘To the most wonderful mother to Benjamin, Olivia and Jamie, daughter to Hilda and Fred, sister, friend, and wife to Damian.
‘The world was a much better place with you in it. Our mum was the most kind, gentle, beautiful soul inside and out.
‘She faced all of life’s challenges with her beautiful smile and her bravery and courage never wavered.’
The family also described the 53-year-old as a ‘role model’ with ‘the greatest sense of humour and contagious laugh’ whose ‘resilience and kindness inspired us all to be better’.
‘You were too good for this world Mum, there will be a hole in our hearts forever,’ they said, adding that the family have asked for privacy as they grieve.
Chris Bowen, Chief Superintendent of GMP’s Oldham district, said: ‘Our sincere thoughts and condolences go to the family and friends of the woman that has sadly passed.
‘We understand that the public are concerned by incidents of this nature. In line with normal procedure, referrals have been made to GMP’s Professional Standards Branch and the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
‘Investigations like this often result in road closures which can cause significant disruption and we thank the local community and road users for their patience.’
An IOPC spokesperson said it is investigating whether police actions prior to the fatal collision were in line with policies and procedures.
‘After being notified by Greater Manchester Police we deployed investigators to the scene and to the police post-incident procedure to begin our inquiries,’ they said.
‘Initial accounts from police officers involved are being obtained. Our thoughts are with the woman’s family and friends at this awful time and all those affected by this tragic incident.
‘Our investigation will examine the circumstances leading up to the collision and whether police actions were in accordance with policies and procedures.’
Anyone with information or dashcam footage should contact GMP quoting incident log 969 of 23/12/2022.
Information can be reported online or by using the LiveChat function at http://www.gmp.police.uk, or call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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