Family suffers damage after police call off search in 10 minutes and woman freezes to death

Jacqueline Parsons, 56, was lying freezing to death in Hull’s Western Cemetery after falling off her bike when PCSOs from Humberside Police sent left after 10 minutes to search for her

Jacqueline Parsons froze to death after police stopped a search for her
Jacqueline Parsons froze to death after police stopped a search for her

A police have paid damages to the family of a woman who froze to death in a cemetery after PCSOs called off a search less than 10 minutes.

Humberside Police didn’t even step out of their car to look for Jacqueline Parsons, 56, as she lay dying at Western Cemetery in Hull, East Yorkshire.

Jacqueline had fallen off her bike and injured herself, prompting a passer-by to call the police from home as he didn’t have a cell phone and feared she would be locked up overnight.

Her body was discovered by a dog walker the following morning in October 2018.

Humberside Police have now reached a settlement with their loved ones, who have taken legal action over claims their failures were a breach of their duty of care to protect the right to life.

Jacqueline’s brother Stephen, 64, is heartbroken and said he was upset by the “fundamental mistakes” and had taken legal action to ensure lessons were learned.

He said: “To this day I can’t reconcile the fact that Jacqueline would still be here if the police had just done their job and searched the area properly.

The 56-year-old spent 17 hours in freezing temperatures despite officers being dispatched to the scene


Hull Live/MEN)

“If they just got out of her car and walked around, she probably would have been found.

“I remember it was a cold and wet day and I always wondered how much that affected what happened.

“To think that she will be left alone there is heartbreaking.”

After the first call on October 27, 2018 at around 4:45 p.m., the incident was logged as urgent.

But according to lawyers acting for the family, it was not until 6.20pm that two PCSOs were dispatched to help a woman who was described as being under the influence of alcohol.

The dispatcher said that given the time that had passed since the initial call with no further reports, all that was needed was a “quick area search,” Hudgell Solicitors said.

Jacqueline had fallen off her bike and a passer-by called 999


Hull Live/MEN)

An inquest into Jacqueline’s death found that officers never exited their vehicle.

Also, the search was aborted after about 10 minutes because she hadn’t been found.

The court heard the police search consisted of officers driving slowly with car windows down to scan the land alongside the main cemetery road that meandered around the cemetery.

Neither were trained in search techniques and their flashlights were not as powerful as special lighting systems used to mark police vehicles.

It ruled that freezing nighttime temperatures, the alcohol in her system, and injuring her ankle from falling off her bike had all contributed to her death.

Jacqueline’s family took legal action against the force


Hull Live/MEN)

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

Stephen added: “I think from the moment the call was logged and she was described as intoxicated, there was a dismissive attitude from everyone involved.

“Not getting out of the car and walking after about 10 minutes after just driving around and lighting some torches was appalling.”

Adam Biglin of Hudgell Solicitors described the search as “completely inadequate in approach and attitude”.

He said: “At no point did officers exit their police vehicle and they used flashlights that were not powerful enough to conduct a proper search.

“They also made no attempt to verify that Jacqueline had returned home safely, as they had received her name and address from the man who called to say she needed help.

“The police failed in their investigative task and instead made a number of assumptions.

“Those assumptions and failure to follow proper procedures proved fatal.”

Humberside Police have been asked for comment.

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