A POLICE officer giving evidence at an inquest into a teenager who died after crashing a stolen quad bike has defended her actions after being accused of having a "red mist" cloud her judgement.

PC Nicola Thorns, of Durham Police, absolutely denied accusations by Richard Copnall, on behalf of Dillon Turner's family, that she did anything other than respond properly and safely to the incident which unfolded on June 14, 2016.

PC Thorns, who is part of Cleveland and Durham's Specialist Operations Unit and trained in both firearms and road policing, was driving an armed response vehicle with her colleague Gareth Hopps, when they were asked to assist with the incident near Barnard Castle.

Earlier that day officers from North Yorkshire Police had followed Mr Turner from The Stang Forest, near Barnard Castle, after a plan to intercept him and two others retrieving a the stolen vehicle was thwarted by a delay in radio communications.

Sitting at Crook Coroner's Court this week, assistant coroner Oliver Longstaff, has also heard how the use of a stinger at Winston Bridge, in Teesdale, also failed to stop the 19-year-old and a pursuit ensued.

A further failure in the communication system linking the police helicopter and both North Yorkshire and Durham Police officers on the ground meant Mr Turner was able to get away from the police cars in Staindrop.

Footage played to the court showed the teenager driving dangerously and swerving into different lanes and narrowly avoiding a collision at a junction in Staindrop.

Giving evidence yesterday, Sergeant Lee Hauxwell, of North Yorkshire Police said he had dropped back from the quad bike to take the pressure off Mr Turner to drive dangerously but then lost communication with the police helicopter and had to be pointed in the right direction by another driver.

When the radio did connect again, Sgt Hauxwell was told to stand down as he was not part of the Road Policing Group (RPG), which he did.

The court heard how PC Thorns and PC Hopps, being an RPG unit, were then asked to attend from Newton Aycliffe.

PC Thorns put on the blue lights and sirens to get to the area as quickly as she could and said she relied on PC Hopps for directions as she was not familiar with Teesdale.

She said there was "mass confusion" with radio messages regarding the whereabouts of the quad bike but was aware that the duo were entering Ingleton village, where some messages suggested Mr Turner could be.

PC Thorns, being stuck behind a Citroen car as she drove into the village, said she pulled out into the other lane to get a clearer view of the road and assess whether it was safe to overtake when she spotted the quad bike travelling at speed towards her.

She told the court she pulled straight back in behind the Citroen within a matter of seconds, to let the quad bike pass but instead Mr Turner veered to the inside of both vehicles and hit a lamp post.

She jumped out of the car and gave Mr Turner first aid but he later died of his injuries.

Mr Copnall suggested Mr Turner would have been faced with a blocked road when PC Thorns pulled out into the other lane.

He asked PC Thorns what she understood by the term red mist, which she replied was having an "emotional involvement in a situation".

He asked: "Would you agree at the time you decided to move out and block the lane in which the quad was riding, at that stage the red mist descended on you?"

PC Thorns replied: "No definitely not. I made the decision to move out to have a view down the carriageway."

The inquest continues.