A frail pensioner is to get compensation from West Yorkshire Police after she was crushed beneath officers in pursuit of a suspect.
Elizabeth Robinson, 86, had just got off a bus in Kirkgate, Huddersfield, and was standing on the pavement.
The suspect backed into her while struggling with two police officers and all three fell on top of her, causing the pensioner to suffer serious orthopaedic injuries.
Recalling the incident, Mrs Robinson said: “Someone came up to face me and knocked into me. Then I heard a rumbling sound and the next thing I looked down and I was on the floor. How I got there I don’t know.”
She added: “I have not forgiven the police in any shape or form.”
Since the July 2008 crush Mrs Robinson’s legal team has fought to win her compensation from West Yorkshire Police but her campaign has hit the buffers time and again after judges ruled that the police were “immune” from such negligence claims.
Now, however, in a ruling that broke new legal ground and will be viewed with concern by police forces up and down the country, the Supreme Court has decided that the two officers breached the duty of care they owed the pensioner.
Lord Reed, sitting with four other justices, said the police officers - one a detective sergeant, the other a constable - had foreseen that the suspect might try to escape and had not noticed Mrs Robinson in the immediate vicinity.
And he ruled that the police have no “general immunity” from being sued over injuries caused in the course of investigating or preventing crime.
Mrs Robinson had been injured as a result of being exposed to a danger from which the officers had a duty of care to protect her.
Lawyers for the West Yorkshire force earlier warned that a ruling in Mrs Robinson’s favour could lead to “defensive policing”.
The officers who gave chase had been faced with a classic policing challenge, had called for back-up and “done all the right things,” they argued.
Deputy Chief Constable John Robins said: “We regret that an innocent member of the public was caught up in this incident, for which we apologise.
“Officers have to make difficult split second decisions every day and public safety is their primary consideration.
“We acknowledge the judgment of the court.”
Compensation will be dealt with later by another court.