A MAN has been found guilty of killing an off-duty Essex Police officer.

PC Tris Baker, 41, was killed after his car was struck by a lorry on the A1060 in Roxwell, near Chelmsford, on September 23, 2021.

The lorry’s driver Robert Harrison, of St Clair Close, Clacton, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving following a thorough investigation into the incident by Essex Police’s serious collision investigation unit.

At the first court hearing Harrison admitted the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving but, in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, a decision was made to pursue a conviction for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

The investigation revealed Harrison was vulnerable to falling asleep in monotonous situations such as driving on a familiar road, sleeping only between five and six hours per night and requiring strong doses of caffeine to carry out his day-to-day responsibilities.

A four-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court concluded today with the jury finding the 38-year-old guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Harrison will be sentenced on July 20.

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DI Mark Fraser, who led the police’s investigation, said: “Harrison’s actions led to Tris, who was deeply loved by his friends and family, losing his life in September 2021.

“Although Harrison pleaded guilty to the death by careless driving offence, the evidence indicated that this incident was dangerous driving as opposed to careless driving. We pursued the more serious charge and today the jury has returned a guilty verdict which matches the gravity of the situation.

“Those who were close to Tris have handled themselves with the utmost dignity in the 18 months since the tragic incident and the whole investigative team has been humbled.

“Tris was well loved at home and in the force and I know nothing can ever change what happened, but I sincerely hope today’s outcome can be of some comfort to everyone close to him.”

Tris’s partner, Temporary Sgt Faye Matthams, also a serving Essex Police officer, expressed her gratitude to the force’s serious collision unit, especially PC Jenny Pirie, the family liaison officer, for their support and for conducting a thorough and professional investigation.