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Injured cyclist froze to death after PCSOs called off search in under 10 minutes

… not as powerful as dedicated lighting systems that marked police vehicles are …

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Jacqueline Parsons, 56, froze to death after police were sent to find her (Picture: SWNS/Paul Glazzard)

A woman who fell off her bike in a cemetery froze to death after PCSOs couldn’t be bothered to get out of their car to look for her.

The family of Jacqueline Parsons have received a payout from Humberside Police, whose officers called off their search after less than 10 minutes.

A passer-by saw the cyclist fall in October 2018 and called the police from home as he didn’t have a mobile, fearing she’d be locked in overnight.

But Jacqueline, 56, was left to die and her body was discovered by a dog walker the following morning in Western Cemetery in Hull, East Yorkshire.

Humberside Police has now agreed a settlement with her loved ones, who accused the force of breaching its duty of care.

Jacqueline’s heartbroken brother Stephen, 64, said he’d been left angry at the ‘basic failings’ and had taken legal action to ensure lessons were learned.

‘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,’ he said.

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

Jacqueline Parsons. See SWNS story SWLEfroze. The family of a woman who froze to death in a cemetery after a failed police search has agreed a settlement claim with Humberside Police. The family of a woman who froze to death in a cemetery after a failed police search has agreed a settlement claim with Humberside Police. The force was called to Hull's Western Cemetery after Jacqueline Parsons, 56, injured herself falling from her bike in October 2018. A passer-by called the police from home as he did not have a mobile and feared she would be locked in overnight.

Parsons’ family have received a payout, accusing Humberside Police of breaching its duty of care (Picture: Hudgell Solicitors/SWNS)

‘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.’

Following the initial call. at around 4.45pm on October 27 2018, the incident had been logged as urgent.

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

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.

An inquest into Jacqueline’s 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.

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.

Ms Parsons’ body was discovered the next day – almost 17 hours after the first call was made to cops.

Stephen added: ‘I think from the moment the call was logged, and she was described as being intoxicated, there was a dismissive approach from all involved.

Western Cemetery, Hull

An passer-by saw Jacqueline fall and called police from his home as he didn’t have a mobile phone (Picture: Paul Glazzard)

‘To not get out of the car and to leave after around 10 minutes, having simply driven round and shone a couple of torches, was appalling.’

Humberside Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Paul Anderson said: ‘We have agreed a settlement with the family following a claim that was received on conclusion of the inquest in 2020.

‘Jacqueline Parson’s death was a terribly tragic incident and our thoughts and condolences remain with her family and loved ones.”

‘On conclusion of the inquest we further looked at lessons to be learned and have already implemented additional training for officers and staff to prevent any unnecessary distress or worry and to assist should there ever be this type of incident across our force area again.’

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