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A young father who died during a Redbridge police chase made “bad choices with his friends” because he “craved acceptance” – but had recently decided to change, his grieving partner says.
Kayne Gardner, 30, died on North Circular Road near Waterworks roundabout on October 21, 2018 – five days before he was due to move in with his partner and 10-year-old daughter.
Police followed him from Faces nightclub in Gants Hill to the ring road, pursuing him at speed against traffic, because they thought he wanted to rescue a man just arrested outside the club.
At the opening of his inquest yesterday, the jury heard officers later discovered the car was stolen and a man was heard shouting “get rid of it”, although there is no evidence Kayne was the thief.
Kayne died shortly before 4am, having collided headfirst with a lorry moments after the unmarked police car pursuing him against traffic was told to stop because it was too dangerous.
In a statement read out by coroner Ian Wade QC, Kayne’s partner Bonnie Exley said she thought he made “bad choices” because he “craved acceptance” after being bullied at school.
She said he was attracted to partying because he “missed out on doing these things” when he became a father at 18, but had recently told her he was tired of that lifestyle.
The couple first met in 2004, when they were both 16, and she remembered him as a boy “so shy he barely said hello” and “covered in grease from fixing his bike”.
She said: “I knew almost immediately that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. He was loving, funny and had a smile that could light up a room.
“We were both nervous about becoming parents so young but so excited. The day our daughter was born was the best day of our lives, Kayne loved her and found being a father very rewarding.”
She added Kayne’s death had left their daughter “scared to get close to anyone in case they leave her too” and feeling as if she “must have done something wrong to deserve this”.
She said: “I found letters his daughter has written asking who will walk her down the aisle when she gets married.
“The pain and devastation his death has caused me and the rest of his family is unbearable. After three years, we still feel the pain like it was yesterday.”
The jury was shown footage taken by a police helicopter of the events leading up to Kayne’s death.
Introducing the video, coroner Wade said: “You are likely to be shocked. It has not been edited… there are no special effects, it is what it is.”
He explained to the jury that police “must have systems in place to prevent avoidable death” and it was up to them to decide whether these were “in effect and operated reasonably”.
In the footage, shortly before the crash, the officer in the helicopter can be heard telling the car closely following Kayne to stop and drive the right way down the ring road because the chase was too dangerous.
The inquest is scheduled to last until July 26.