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Beautiful and innocent’ woman, 22, ‘killed by police officer driving 64mph in 30 zone’

A ‘beautiful and innocent’ young woman was killed after being hit by a police officer driving 64mph in a 30mph zone, a coroner heard.

Jade Mutua, 22, was waiting for her boyfriend when she was hit by the police car in west London in August 2019.

She was taken to hospital and placed on life support, but died two days later.

Her father says he is still ‘searching for answers’ after the crash saying her life was ‘tragically and violently’ ended.

At a pre-inquest review today, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard a three-day inquest will be held with a jury on a date to be fixed.

It was said that a PC Gary Watkinson was driving the police car, which was travelling at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Warwick Road, Kensington.

PC Watkinson did not attend the hearing, which was held over video link.

The review dealt with administrative and legal issues including whether the inquest should be heard by a jury.

Nick Stanage, representing the family, told the coroner: “You are not obliged to empanel a jury, we would say this being a police contact death whose facts on the face of it do give rise to public concern.

“An officer driving at 64mph in a 30mph lane causing death – those factors on the face of it would give rise to public concern.”

Mark Ley-Morgan, lawyer for the Met Police, said: “In my respectful submission we are not in that territory.”

Assistant coroner Bernard Richmond QC said: “If somebody is driving 64 in a 30 that calls for an explanation as to why they were driving double the limit.

“The reason I have to do this is I have to look at potential avenues of finding and not actual finding. So there will be a jury.”

The court did not hear whether officers were responding to an emergency at the time of the crash.

A report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation has been sent to the coroner, the coroner said.

However Mr Richmond said: “Nobody is bound by the findings of the IOPC.”

Jade’s father Jermaine Laxmidas attended the hearing over video link but spoke only to confirm he understood what was being said in the hearing.

Friends and family have previously paid tribute to the social work student, who grew up in Kentish Town, north London, and was living in West Hampstead before she died.

Jade’s step-mum Mina Agyepong said at the time: ““She was a beautiful, fun loving 22-year-old who had her whole life ahead of her. All her family are devastated.

“We’re absolutely heartbroken Jade has gone.”

Speaking after the inquest, Jade’s father said the family hope the upcoming inquest will provide answers as to how the student died.

Mr Laxmidas said: “My daughter was very bright. She was training to be a social worker because she wanted to help disadvantaged children.

“She was beautiful. Her innocent life was tragically and violently ended.

“I still haven’t had a proper explanation about what happened. It has been a long time and I don’t have any answers. I hope to be able to see the evidence for myself shortly.”

He has set up a charity in Jade’s honour, The Jade Mutua Foundation Trust, which provides help to disadvantaged young people living in London to access education, training, and employment opportunities.

The family’s solicitor Andrew Frederick said “This is a tragic case involving a young woman who had amazing prospects of making a positive impact to society. But her life was cut short. Her family need answers about what happened and those responsible must be held to account.”