Driver of Land Rover that ploughed into Wimbledon school, killing girl, 8, 'had a seizure and bit through her tongue'

9 July 2023, 07:21 | Updated: 9 July 2023, 07:33

The driver of the car that killed an eight-year-old girl in Wimbledon is said to have had a seizure
The driver of the car that killed an eight-year-old girl in Wimbledon is said to have had a seizure. Picture: Alamy/Handout

By Kit Heren

The driver of a car that smashed into a school in Wimbledon this week, killing a girl and injuring many more, is said to have had a seizure losing control of the vehicle.

The unnamed driver was in a "delirious" state, bit through her tongue and slammed her foot down on the accelerator, smashing into the Study primary school in south-west London, according to a source.

She is not thought to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel.

"The driver was in a delirious condition and had bitten through her tongue. She'd stopped outside the school but the car took off as if the driver had suddenly floored the accelerator," the source told The Sun.

"At this point the police believe she had some kind of seizure just before the accident."

A couple stand next to the floral tributes at the gates of the school
A couple stand next to the floral tributes at the gates of the school. Picture: Alamy

The driver was taken for medical treatment before being questioned. She was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and has been bailed under investigation.

The horror crash killed an eight-year-old girl, Selena Lau, who was "adored and loved by everyone", her family has said.

Another eight-year-old girl currently remains in critical condition and a woman, in her 40s, is also in hospital.

A number of other people – including a seven-month-old girl - were also taken to hospital and their conditions have been assessed as not life-threatening.

Selena Lau was named as the victim.
Selena Lau was named as the victim. Picture: Handout

A family statement said: "Selena was an intelligent and cheeky girl adored and loved by everyone. The family wishes their privacy to be respected at this sad time".

A floral tribute at the scene on Friday said: "Dear Selena, you will always be our shining star. We will miss you so much."

Read more: Second girl, 8, fights for life and woman in her 40s critical after Wimbledon school crash as driver bailed

Read more: Tragedy at end of term party: Girl, 8, dies and ten in hospital after Land Rover ploughs into Wimbledon school

A tribute left at the scene on Friday..
A tribute left at the scene on Friday.. Picture: Alamy

Parents have held bedside vigils in hospital for children who were injured in the incident.

"A number of other people – including a seven-month-old girl - were also taken to hospital and their conditions have been assessed as not life-threatening," the Met Police said in a statement.

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said after the death was confirmed: "What a sad incident - it is tragically on the last day of term, for this young girl to have lost her life."

Land Rover Crashes Into Wimbledon Private School
Land Rover Crashes Into Wimbledon Private School. Picture: Getty

In a statement, the school said on Thursday: "We are profoundly shocked by the tragic accident this morning at Wilberforce House and devastated that it has claimed the life of one of our young pupils as well as injuring several others.

"Our thoughts are with the bereaved family and with the families of those injured at this terrible time.

"It is still far too soon to fully understand what happened, but we are well aware of the significant impact this dreadful event will have on our pupils and their families.

"Their welfare remains our top priority and we will be doing everything we can to support them, especially those who suffered injuries.

"Now that a police investigation is underway we will not be making any further public statement for the time being and would ask that the privacy of our school community is respected at this deeply upsetting time."

Children at the private school were outside enjoying a tea party when the two-tonne vehicle crashed through the outdoor play area. Some parents were at the party, while others were due to come pick up their children later when they left work.

A total of 16 patients - both children and adults - were treated at the scene, and ten were taken to hospital, according to the London Ambulance Service.

Many people have expressed their sorrow at the incident and paid tribute to Selena and the other people who were hurt.

Thomas Barlow, councillor for Wimbledon Village, speaking to the PA news agency at scene of the crash on Camp Road, said: "Everyone's in complete shock that something like this could happen... and the fact that this happened on the last day of term which was clearly a happy day at school is horrendous.

"The whole village is in shock, a lot of the people had connections to this school." Max Austin, councillor for Wimbledon, said his sister used to attend The Study Preparatory School.

"This is normally a very happy time here, everything is decorated for the tennis, the kids will get involved with it and the schools. There's a sort of crude juxtaposition between the festive atmosphere here in Wimbledon and now this.

"My sister came to school here... this is a hyperlocal school and I think the people will come together."

Janice Howard, the past mayor of Merton, added: "I come here every week to walk, and I actually do a three-point turn here, so for me it's quite inconceivable how this could've happened, it's absolutely tragic."

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