THE police watchdog has cleared officers of any culpability in the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian.

Jonos Sasvari, 78, was hit and killed as he walked across Old Steine, Brighton, at 10pm on January 10.

The driver, Gavin Dawes, is serving a ten-year sentence for the crime which happened while his Vauxhall Astra was involved in a high-speed pursuit involving two Sussex Police squad cars.

The incident sparked an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as a “death following police contact” and yesterday the IPCC cleared the police of any involvement or wrongdoing.

An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC’s independent investigation into Sussex Police actions prior to a fatal road traffic collision in Brighton is complete and has concluded that the officers involved acted in accordance with their training and relevant policies.

“The investigation concluded that while police pursued the Astra prior to the collision with Mr Sasvari, as it had earlier failed to stop for police, officers had lost sight of the Astra at the time of the collision.

“The investigation examined CCTV footage, data from the police vehicle in-car data recorders, as well as analysing statements from witnesses and police officers and staff.

“The IPCC investigation identified no concerns with the actions of officers involved. The IPCC’s investigation report is now being considered for publication.”

Matt Webb, of the Sussex Police Federation, criticised the length of time the IPCC had taken to clear the names of Brighton police officers.

He said: “Although in my mind this result was never in doubt, officers from Brighton have felt under investigation for simply doing their job, trying to keep the people of Brighton safe by dealing with individuals willing to blatantly flaunt the laws of the road.

“It is therefore a great relief for them that they have been totally exonerated by this investigation.

“Once again our sympathies are with the family and friends of Mr Sasvari who lost his life in this tragic incident.”

He said the IPCC was mired in bureaucracy and contrasted the speedy arrest and conviction of Dawes – jailed in April – with the seven months police were working with this investigation “hanging over them”.

Dawes, 33, of Phoenix Rise, Brighton was on bail for other driving offences at the time of the collision and pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving in April.

He was jailed in June.