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21 February 2019, 17:12
A crack cocaine addict whose dangerous driving led to the death of West Midlands Police PCSO Holly Burke has been jailed for nine years.
Darren Ogom - from Longdales Road in Kings Norton - tore along residential streets at more than double the speed limit on the night of 22 January before crashing into a car being driven by Holly on Hagley Road in Bearwood.
The 42-year-old – who admitted smoking crack cocaine less than two hours earlier – was driving his partner’s Renault Megane Scenic along Gravelly Hill in Erdington at 11.25pm when police officers became suspicious and beckoned him to pull over.
He wasn’t insured to drive the car and only had a provisional licence – and “in panic” sped away from the officers on a 14-minute pursuit that ended in tragedy.
Ogom drove at speeds in excess of 100mph on the A38(M) into the city and also registered speeds of 90mph in a 50-zone and 70mph on residential roads covered by 30-limits.
He jumped three red lights and the pursuit was abandoned at 11.40pm after Ogom hit the central reservation and careered towards oncoming traffic on the wrong side of Tollhouse Way in Smethwick.
Two minutes later the Megane was spotted by a police dog unit in Bearwood High Street travelling at 70mph towards Hagley Road where Ogom accelerated through another red light and collided with the driver’s side of Holly’s Ford Fiesta.
The 28-year-old – a hugely popular member of the Washwood Heath Neighbourhood Police Team – is understood to have died instantly due to the speed of the impact.
Ogom was found slumped across the passenger seat of the Megane and, following treatment in hospital, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and driving a motor vehicle without insurance or a licence.
In police interview he claimed to have panicked and sped off as he didn’t want police to seize his wife’s car – but admitted he had every opportunity to pull over and that his judgement may have been clouded through drug use.
He admitted all charges and was jailed for nine years - of which he will serve six behind bars - and given a driving ban of 16 years. The judge ruled he was a dangerous offender who posed a serious risk to the public, so ordered that he remain on licence for a further three years at the end of the nine-year period.
Detective Sergeant Alan Wood from West Midlands Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was a shocking case of dangerous driving and one that ended with the devastating death of a much-loved member of our policing family.
“Ogom put many other road users and pedestrians in danger that night and he had plenty of time to consider his actions, pull over and bring the matter to a safe conclusion.
“Our thoughts remain with Holly’s family and friends at this time.”
Ch Supt Kenny Bell, Birmingham East commander, said: “No outcome at court could ever compensate for the devastating and tragic loss of a life that Darren Ogom was responsible for.
“I hope he takes the time to consider what he has taken away from Holly’s family and friends, from the communities that Holly was so proud to work in, and from the wider West Midlands Police family.
“We’ve been really grateful for the response from the community, who have been sharing their experiences working with Holly, and we continue to keep her family, friends and colleagues in our thoughts.”