Memorial will honour police officers killed in Wakefield coach crash

GV of Newton Hill roundabout and retail park. Picture Scott Merrylees
GV of Newton Hill roundabout and retail park. Picture Scott Merrylees

A memorial to five police officers killed in a coach crash could be created as part of redevelopments to a major roundabout.

PCs David Bulleyment, Eric Renshaw and Colin Ross, WPC Lillian Sullivan and WPS Elizabeth Burton all lost their lives when their vehicle overturned in the Newton Hill area of Wakefield in May 1978.

The coach had been carrying the officers and dozens of their colleagues to a Police Federation conference in Blackpool. Another 23 were injured.

Now, more than four decades on, plans have been put forward to redevelop Newton Bar roundabout, which is used by around 35,000 motorists a day travelling between Wakefield and Leeds.

Provided the scheme gets planning permission, Wakefield Council has indicated it intends to build a lasting tribute to the five officers on the site.

That proposal has received wholehearted backing from the West Yorkshire Police Federation, who are keen to ensure their departed colleagues are remembered.

Federation chairman Brian Booth said: “We have been talking to the council about this and we think it’s a fantastic idea. We’re fully supportive of it.

“We don’t know exactly what the design of it will look like at this stage but the Police Roll of Honour Trust is likely to be involved with that side of things.

“They’ve done projects like this before and if they have anything to do it with it, it will look very good.

“It’s absolutely the right thing to do to remember them. It was a massive tragedy and it’s important we recognise the contribution of those officers to society.” An inquest into the deaths of the officers, whose ages ranged between 31 and 45, later heard that the coach’s brakes had failed.

Discussing the proposed plans at a council Cabinet meeting this morning, Coun Matthew Morley said it was right that the officers be “honoured” with a memorial.