Croydon tram crash: Passengers accidentally killed, jury concludes

Croydon tram on its side

A tram crash which killed seven people in Croydon was an accident, an inquest jury has found.

More than 50 people were injured when the tram tipped over and spun off the tracks near Sandilands tram stop in south London in November 2016.

The tram was travelling three times faster than a speed restriction.

Speaking after the verdict, the mother of one of the victims said the families were “bitterly disappointed” and that justice had not been done.

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

Family members of the victims sat in the public gallery at Croydon Town Hall to hear the verdict, which came after more than nine days of deliberations by the inquest jury.

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

Members of London Fire Brigade look at the overturned tram

Getty Images

It can now be reported that south London senior coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe refused to call a number of people who the victims’ families wanted to give evidence about alleged safety failings.

Those potential witnesses include senior managers of operator Tram Operations Ltd (TOL) – a subsidiary of FirstGroup – and Transport for London (TfL), plus other experts.

The families said they felt “justice had been suffocated” following the verdict.

‘Total farce’

Jean Smith, 64, mother of Mark Smith, said she was disappointed the inquest did not hear from TfL or the driver of the tram that crashed.

“I am bitterly disappointed as justice has not been done today. It has been a total farce as we have only heard half of the evidence and no-one who could potentially have been responsible for the crash has been called as a witness.

“It’s morally wrong that we haven’t been able to hear from anybody from TfL, TOL or the driver during the proceedings, whatever legal precedent says.

“It feels like they have been able to hide from giving evidence and it simply isn’t fair or just. Justice has been suffocated because of the coroner’s ruling.”

Danielle Wynne, the granddaughter of another crash victim Philip Logan, said: “I’m so upset and angry. It’s not an accident. Someone is to blame.

“We want lessons to be learned so that no other family has to go through this.”

The families intend to call on the Attorney General Michael Ellis to apply to the High Court to grant a new inquest.

Presentational grey line

Mark Smith, Dane Chinnery, Phil Seary, Dorota Rynkiewicz (L-R)

Family Handout

  • Dane Chinnery, 19
  • Donald Collett, 62
  • Robert Huxley, 63
  • Philip Logan, 52,
  • Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35
  • Philip Seary, 57
  • Mark Smith, 35

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