Croydon tram crash: Victims 'died in accident and were not unlawfully killed'

22 July 2021, 12:51 | Updated: 22 July 2021, 14:39

The inquest into the tram's derailment concluded that it was an accident.
The inquest into the tram's derailment concluded that it was an accident. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

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

On its 10th day of deliberations at Croydon Town Hall, the 10-person inquest jury reached the unanimous conclusion.

The foreman of the 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 onto its right side, as a result of which the deceased was ejected from the tram and killed."

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The coroner refused to call a number of people who the victims' families wanted to give evidence about alleged safety failings.

Potential witnesses included senior managers of operator Tram Operations Ltd (TOL) - a subsidiary of FirstGroup - and Transport for London (TfL), plus other experts and tram drivers.

Lawyers for the families said a judicial review was being considered after the outcome, and that they intended to apply to the High Court to grant a new inquest.

Ben Posford - partner and head of catastrophic injury at law firm Osbornes Law - who represented the families of five of the seven victims, said: "The families of those who died are understandably angry and upset at today's conclusion, and that they have been unable to hear from those responsible for the systemic failings that led to their loved one's deaths.

"They have had an agonising wait for justice but have been let down by the process that has allowed the managers of TfL and TOL to dodge giving evidence and avoid giving the families the answers they so desperately need.

"Instead of gaining a greater understanding of how and why their loved ones died, they have been badly let down.

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"Ultimately, they feel that nobody has been held accountable for the tragic events almost five years ago and will keep fighting for justice for their loved ones.

"As a result, we will be pursuing the legal options open to us by calling on the Attorney General to apply to the High Court for a new inquest.

"The families will also be considering judicial review proceedings against the coroner, to get the answers they deserve."

A further 51 people were injured when the derailment happened on 9 November 2016.

Alfred Dorris - the driver of the tram - was initially arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter but was later released.