Croydon tram crash driver cannot apologise in person as he is deemed unfit to attend inquest into deaths of seven people

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

Nearly four years after the tragic Croydon tram crash, the inquest into the deaths of seven people is due to start on October 19.

But the families of the dead will not hear the driver of the tram, Alfred Dorris, apologise in person, as he has been deemed not fit to attend the inquest.

A pre-inquest hearing was held at Croydon Town Hall on Friday.

A jury inquest into the deaths of Dane Chinnery, Donald Collett, Robert Huxley, Philip Logan, Dorota Rynkiewicz, Philip Seary and Mark Smith will be held at the same location.

The seven victims died on the morning of November 9, 2016 when a tram derailed at Sandilands Junction.

The inquest originally opened on November 21, 2016 but was adjourned until a decision on whether or not to charge the driver was made.

On October 31, 2019 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and British Transport Police announced that the driver Alfred Dorris would not be charged with gross negligence manslaughter.

Andrew Ritchie, the lawyer representing five of the seven families, said that they would like to see Mr Dorris apologise.

He said: “They do not feel comfortable not seeing Mr Dorris explain what happened.

“On the other hand I don’t request another psychiatric report but I’ve been asked to try and satisfy their human need to see the man and hear him apologise.

“I’ve heard he wishes to do so and has tried to do so.

“So I inform the court that the families would like to work for either a video conference or group face-to-face meeting.”

By the time the tram had left the Lloyd Park tram stop, 69 passengers, as well as the driver were on board.

All but one of the passengers were injured and seven died.

The jury inquest is expected to be completed in 12 weeks’ time, and will run from Monday to Thursday from October 19.

Pictured top: The aftermath of the Croydon tram crash in 2016

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