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PC who was hit by a car recovering from serious head and leg injuries

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A West Midlands Police officer reflects on his recovery one year on from being mowed down by a car and left in a coma.


PC Chris Burnham

Date - 28th September 2020
By - Chloe Livadeas

PC Chris Burnham returned to policing in June and started a new role with Coventry Police's partnerships team.

The 48-year-old neighbourhood officer was seriously injured after he was knocked down by a fleeing driver in Holbrooks, Coventry on the 25 September 2019.

After spotting a man wanted over a domestic robbery, PC Burnham sprinted over to make the arrest. However, the driver sped off and veered right around an island before hitting the officer who was thrown onto the bonnet and his head smashed the windscreen. 

It was initially feared that he would be in an induced coma for weeks, and remain in hospital well into 2020.

But he was fully conscious after six days and just 21 days after being admitted he was discharged from hospital and on his first steps to recovery.

"It’s something that has happened and is never going to go away but it will not hold me back,” he said.

PC Burnham, who has been in the job for 27 years, has fortunately suffered no long-term psychological damage. He has no recollection of the incident or the following 10-15 days and asked to watch the unedited footage showing the immediate aftermath of the incident. 

He admits this latest experience has made him more aware of the risks and dangers officers face.

"We do a dangerous job. We are in a role where when it goes wrong, it can go wrong very quickly. That shouldn’t stop us from doing things, it's about remembering stay aware and keeping safe," he said.

He suffered serious leg injuries and has three screws holding his left knee cap together now. He cannot run but has pushed through the pain barrier and with flexibility returning to his leg he can walk, swim and cycle.

"No one expected me to be in this position. Not six months ago and certainly not 12 months ago. My recovery is down to a bit of luck, a bit of effort and a lot of NHS," he said.

In March, banned driver Tekle Lennox was jailed for seven years after admitted wounding with intent to resist arrest. The 37-year-old was also given four months after pleading guilty to possession of drugs.

PC Burnham has not been dwelling on the perpetrator.

He said: "It’s been more about getting better than seeking vengeance. I feel justice has been done. I was impressed with the judge, CPS and the whole court process and content with the sentence as it was what I expected. 

"I was glad to see the back of the court case and felt better when it had been laid to rest.”

He also championed the support from the community and the part it played in his recovery

“I would really like to thank the large number of people, from Coventry and further afield, who have provided support and well wishes. It's been a massive help to me and my family over the last year.”

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