Deaths of passengers of Croydon tram crash were accidental, jury concludes

Deaths of passengers of Croydon tram crash were accidental, jury concludes
Seven people died and 51 were injured in the 2016 crash

The seven victims of the Croydon tram crash died as a result of an accident and were not unlawfully killed, the jury at an inquest has concluded.

The passengers died after a tram derailed near Sandilands tram stop in south London on 9 November 2016.

Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, and Philip Logan, 52, all from New Addington, and Donald Collett, 62, and Mark Smith, 35, both from Croydon, were killed in the crash.

Fifty-one people were injured, en 16 of the survivors had sustained serious or life-threatening injuries.

The accident took place just after 6am as the tram made a sharp turn during heavy rain at 45 mph. It derailed and overturned, landing about 25 metres away from the point of derailment.

The crash damaged the side of the tram and had several passengers through broken windows, volgens a 2017 report by the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch (RAIB).

On its 10th day of deliberations at Croydon Town Hall, Suid-Londen, the 10-person jury reached a unanimous conclusion that their deaths were a result of an accident.

It has been believed that the tram driver fell into a “micro-sleep” soon before the crash happened. Die Crown Prosecution Service had concluded in 2019 that “the evidence does not support” gross negligence manslaughter charges being brought against driver Alfred Dorris.

The foreman of the inquest’s jury said: “The tram driver became disorientated, which caused loss of awareness in his surroundings, probably due to a lack of sleep.

“As a result of which, the driver failed to brake in time and drove his tram towards a tight curve at excessive speed.

“The tram left the rails and overturned on to its right side, as a result of which the deceased [were] ejected from the tram and killed.”

Repair work on the section of track where the tram crashed

The loved ones of the seven people who died said they felt “justice has been suffocated” following the verdict.

Ben Posford, head of catastrophic injury at Osbornes Law, told the PA news agency his clients are “frustrated and disappointed” as allegations of safety failings did not feature.

The families plan on calling on the Attorney General Michael Ellis to apply to the High Court to order a new inquest.

Jean Smith, mother of Mark Smith, said she was disappointed the inquest did not hear from Transport for London or the tram driver.

South London senior coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe had ruled that potential witnesses such as senior figures at Croydon tram operator Tram Operations Ltd would not give evidence.

Her decision was based on what happened at an inquest into the deaths of four men killed in a helicopter crash in Norfolk in 2014.

Ms Ormond-Walshe ruled that the case meant she was “not permitted to call further evidence” in relation to the tram crash because there was “no credible evidence that the investigation of the RAIB is incomplete, flawed or deficient”.

The crash was the first tram incident in which people died in the UK since three people died in a tram accident in Glasgow in 1959.

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