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Father's fury after 'sad face' emoticon in police e-mail appears to show officer's 'disappointment' that his daughter survived car crashDarren Thomas was 'absolutely distraught' when he saw the internal emailAs daughter Laura lay in a coma, investigating officer wrote: 'It looks like the driver will pull through, so no fatal for me to deal with yet :('He discovered email through Freedom of Information request
Humberside Police officer since apologised for any offence causedShe said sad face referred to not 'fulfilling my professional development'
15:23 GMT, 20 March 2013
16:09 GMT, 20 March 2013
A father was 'absolutely distraught' after a police officer appeared 'disappointed' that his daughter did not die in a car crash.
Laura Thomas suffered a fractured skull, three broken bones in her neck and back and three brain bleeds after she lost control of her car.
As she lay in a coma in hospital, a PC investigating the crash sent an internal email to another officer from the vehicle investigation branch.
Darren Thomas, pictured with daughter Laura at the scene of her crash, said he was 'distraught' when he saw the email that appeared to show an officer was 'disappointed' that his daughter did not die
She wrote: 'It looks like the driver will pull through, so no fatal for me to deal with yet.'
The officer ended the email with the 'sad face' text sign :(.
Laura's father Darren Thomas only saw the email when he submitted a Freedom of Information request to view all the documents relating to the crash.
Mr Thomas, from Bilton, near Hull, said: 'I wanted to have a look at
everything relating to the investigation and it was only then that I was
made aware of this email.
'I was absolutely distraught that this officer seemed to be disappointed that my daughter would pull through and not die.'
Laura, now 22, was seriously injured after her car hit a rut during a drive in East Yorkshire when she was 19.
She said: 'My family and I have been through so much since the crash and it is heartbreaking for this to come to light now.'
Mr Thomas lodged a formal complaint with Humberside Police and asked for a full investigation to be carried out and has since been sent a statement, including a letter from the officer.
The officer who sent the email said she was sorry for the offence caused by the sad face text sign
Laura Thomas suffered a fractured skull, three broken bones in her neck and back and three brain bleeds in the crash
It said: 'This comment was a communication that was ill-judged and sadly could easily be regarded as inappropriate, however, I feel it has been taken and read out of context.
'In the email I used 🙁 to depict a sad face. This was to convey my sadness at not, at that time, fulfilling my professional development, and certainly not to depict any sadness to the fact that Miss Thomas was recovering.'
The statement went on to say: 'I am extremely upset this email was taken in a manner that has upset, distressed or offended anyone. It was certainly not intended that way.
'I would like to apologise for any upset, distress or offence this email may have caused.
'I will certainly make sure I give much more consideration to my remarks and communications and the way they could affect and be received by others.'
In the same letter, a detective sergeant outlines the steps that have been taken to ensure it does not happen again.
He said: 'There are lessons to be learned from this investigation for both individuals and Humberside Police.
'The officer has been spoken to about the content of her emails and a guidance and information entry has been made reminding officers to be more professional in email correspondence.
'It is clear from the detailed response provided by the officer that although she agrees the image in the email was not thought through, she understands the potential for it to be misinterpreted.
'She has, however, endeavoured to explain the reason behind the 'sad face' appearing in the email and I am satisfied with that explanation.
'She was not aware the email would ever be disclosed and thought it was a private communication.'
MailOnline has contacted Humberside Police.