The family of a grandad killed in a head-on crash with a teen who was driving the wrong way along the M60 today paid tribute to him.
David Faulkner, 77, died after being hit by a stolen BMW driven by 18-year-old Brandon Geasley following a police chase. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.
An inquest at Manchester South Coroner’s Court heard this afternoon that Mr Faulkner was “one of the good guys” in a tribute from his devastated family. Anthony Faulkner, one of David’s two sons, described his “very special” dad, reading out a written portrait of the grandfather-of-two’s life, detailing his dad’s love of dancing, his musical skills, and his ability to always be there to help those around him.
He said: “David was a dad to two sons, a grandfather of two, a husband of 54 years, a brother, an in law, and a friend to many. He was a very special person who was always busy.
“He played in a cabaret band on the weekend. He always said if a job had to be done it had to be done right no matter what. In his 50s he had a heart attack and he was truly grateful for the treatment and care he received at Tameside and Wythenshawe hospitals.
“After retiring he had many hobbies, he learnt guitar, and was a keen charity fundraiser. Everybody liked Dave.
“He’s missed so much. He was one of the good guys and we’re all devastated this has happened to him.”
An inquest heard that Mr Faulkner was driving a red Vauxhall Insignia on the anticlockwise carriageway of the M60 at junction two for Cheadle when he was passed by a BMW X4 being chased by the police. The BMW had been stolen earlier that day from Stockport, and was being driven by 18-year-old Brandon Geasley with PC Jennifer Barrow, a member of the tactical vehicle intercept unit, in pursuit.
Just minutes after the two cars had passed Mr Faulkner, the 77-year-old from Denton was involved in a head-on collision with Mr Geasley, after the teenager exited the motorway before driving back the wrong way down the carriageway. Both men died at the scene.
Last week, assistant coroner Adrian Farrow heard evidence about Mr Geasley’s death, and whether it was proportionate to continue the pursuit as it reached speeds of up to 130mph. Although he determined police were justified in continuing their chase, Mr Farrow will look again at the circumstances surrounding the pursuit and the risks it posed to determine whether it was justified for officers to put members of the public at risk from a high-speed pursuit.
Much of the evidence will be re-examined by Mr Farrow this week, with the assistant coroner set to hear from the police officers who pursued Mr Geasley, members of the control room for Greater Manchester Police and the North West Motorway Policing Group, and eyewitnesses who were on the motorway at the time of the incident.
The inquest heard from PC Barrow as she recounted her and her front passenger, PC Stephen Preston, chased Mr Geasley down Altrincham Road at speeds of 70mph at around 10.15pm, going through three roundabouts before he headed onto the M56, where his speed reached 110mph. Mr Geasley then entered the M60, hitting speeds of 130mph as he sped towards Stockport, coming off at junction 27. When PC Barrow attempted to follow him round the roundabout, she was unable to see which way he’d gone, and headed towards St Mary’s Way in the hopes of finding him.
As PC Barrow and PC Preston gave up their chase another tactical colleague PC Andrew Cale, who had been on his way to join the pursuit, informed them that Mr Geasley had driven back onto the M60, heading down the motorway in the wrong direction. Shortly after this, Mr Geasley crashed into Mr Faulkner’s car, leaving the pensioner with multiple fractures including a break to the C2 vertebrae. His cause of death was listed by Dr Joseph, a pathologist, as multiple injuries due to a road traffic accident.
In March a group of Mr Faulkner’s “musical friends” held a charity concert in his memory, raising £5,000 for the two hospitals that had cared for their lost loved one after his heart attack. Mr Faulkner often organised concerts for the two hospitals, with all proceeds being split between the two organisations.
Much of Mr Faulkner’s inquest will follow a similar format to the inquiry into Mr Geasley’s death, due to an overlap in circumstances preceding the crash. However, Mr Farrow’s conclusion that Mr Geasley’s right to life was not breached during the police chase does not necessarily mean that Mr Faulkner’s was also not breached, as there is a distinct separation between what can be considered too risky for the drivers involved in a pursuit, and what could be considered too risky for members of the public.
The hearing has been listed for five days, but is expected to conclude earlier dependant on the length of evidence heard. Proceedings continue.