Policeman's son backs memorial to officers killed in Wakefield coach crash

Neil Bulleyment was only four years old when his father David died in the accident, in 1978.
Neil Bulleyment was only four years old when his father David died in the accident, in 1978.

The son of a police officer killed in a coach crash in Wakefield 41 years ago has said a memorial for his dad and the other victims  is “long overdue”.

Neil Bulleyment was only four when his 31 year-old dad David lost his life in the accident at the Newton Hill roundabout in May 1978.

The accident and its aftermath were covered extensively by the Express at the time.

The accident and its aftermath were covered extensively by the Express at the time.

The coach was carrying officers to a Police Federation conference in Blackpool. Four others, PCs Eric Renshaw and Colin Ross, WPC Lillian Sullivan and WPS Elizabeth Burton also died, while a further 23 were injured.

Now plans for a memorial to be built at the roundabout after it is redeveloped are gathering pace and support.

Mr Bulleyment, who also goes by the name of Todd, said: "I think the idea is long overdue to be honest.

“I’ve seen various police forces up and down the the UK all pay tribute to the officers they’ve lost, and I think West Yorkshire should too.

Mr Bulleyment drives past the roundabout every other day, and says a lasting tribute to his dad would be a worthy investment.

Mr Bulleyment drives past the roundabout every other day, and says a lasting tribute to his dad would be a worthy investment.

“I think since 1978, something has been lacking, even if there was just a small plaque there it would have been nice. It’s a great shame really."

Mr Bulleyment has no recollection of the tragedy, but says friends and colleagues of his father, as well as his late mother, spoke highly of him.

He found out around 10 years ago that a wooden plaque with his dad’s name on did exist in an old police training centre on Bishopgarth in Wakefield.

However, he has no idea what happened to it when the building subsequently closed.

He added: "My mum said it was the worst day of her life when she got a knock on the door from the police inspector to tell her the news. She was a police officer as well, so she knew something wasn’t right. It was a grim day.

"I use the roundabout every other day when I’m driving and you can’t help but think about what happened as you go by. To get something there for him would be lovely."

Local Democracy Reporting Service