A POLICE officer has been cleared of killing his girlfriend in a car crash in Ramsbottom.
Brendan Buggie, aged 39, lost control of his Toyota Celica and collided with a van parked in Manchester Road at 12.25am on December 5 last year.
His girlfriend, 26-year-old Justyna Stanczak, suffered multiple injuries and died four hours later in hospital.
Buggie, of Rochdale Road, Edenfield, was found not guilty of causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed alcohol limit after a five-day trial at Bradford Crown Court.
But the jury found him guilty of drink-driving and he will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, December 14.
Buggie had six expired speeding offences on his licence and was also banned from driving with immediate effect.
The court heard that Buggie had been drinking in Ramsbottom town centre and consumed six pints of beer.
He met Miss Stanczak when she finished work at the First Chop wine bar at 9pm and they went to Irwell Brewery for drinks, before walking to Buggie’s home.
On the way, the court was told they were seen by Elaine Singleton, the mother of Miss Stanczak’s best friend and Buggie’s ex-girlfriend Lucy Fox, from whom he had separated a few weeks earlier.
Mrs Singleton sent a text message to her daughter, leading to an exchange of messages between Miss Fox and the couple.
Buggie decided to drive Miss Stanczak to her home in Bury, but lost control of the car in icy conditions and crashed into an LDV Convoy van parked on the opposite side of Manchester Road.
He admitted being over the legal alcohol limit, but told the court that he “felt sober” when he got behind the wheel.
He said the icy road conditions made the route treacherous.
Buggie remains suspended from duty as a police officer and will face a misconduct hearing by Greater Manchester Police.
After the court case, Superintendent Peter Turner said: "We note the outcome of the jury and our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time."