Families formally request second inquest into Croydon tram crash deaths

By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter

The families of the Croydon tram crash victims have formally requested a fresh inquest into the deaths of their loved ones.

Lawyers representing five of the seven families sent a letter to the Attorney General asking him to apply to the High Court for a new inquest today.

Last month, a jury concluded that the seven deaths on the morning of November 9, 2016 were accidental after the tram derailed at the Sandilands Junction.

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 died in the crash.

In the nine week inquest the jury did not hear evidence from Transport for London (TfL) and First Group’s Trams Operations Limited (TOL) – something the families were furious about.

The coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe used the “Norfolk ruling” a precedent from a previous inquest into a helicopter crash to decide that the evidence would not be heard.

Ben Posford from Osbornes Law is lead solicitor for five of the seven families.

He said that the interpretation of the ruling was “far too broad” meaning future inquests into public transport accidents will be “rubber-stamping exercises…which renders the inquest an expensive farce”.

In a letter to Attorney General, Michael Ellis QC, he said: “These decisions have caused distress and injustice to the families of the deceased and also caused a public outcry.

“The families feel deeply let down by the inquest process and can see no point in having such an inquiry and then calling none of those responsible to give evidence to the jury.”

He said that the families cannot afford a judicial review without legal aid.

In the letter, Mr Posford added: “You could save them the heartache, stress and burden by exercising your powers.” 




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