TfL and TOL facing Old Bailey sentencing over 2016 tram crash

The three-day hearing at the Old Bailey sentencing of the operators of the tram system for their part in the 2016 Sandilands tram crash began yesterday by hearing victim impact statements.

Seven died and 21 were badly hurt in the crash on November 9, 2016.

The prosecution has been brought by the Office for Road and Rail. Transport for London and Tram Operations Limited, a subsidiary of First Group, are to be sentenced by judge Mr Justice Fraser on Thursday, after both organisations pleaded guilty to failings in their health and safety duties.

The early morning tram, which had set off from New Addington and was heading towards East Croydon, was carrying 69 passengers. It was going at three times the speed limit when it toppled over on a sharp bend.

Those who were killed were Dane Chinnery, 19; Philip Seary, 57; Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35; Robert Huxley, 63; Philip Logan, 52; Donald Collett, 62; and Mark Smith, 35.

Alfred Dorris, the tram driver, was cleared of all charges in an earlier Old Bailey trial, after blaming the crash on external factors including poor lighting and signage.

Among those giving victim impact statements was Jean Smith, the mother of Mark Smith, who said that no amount of money or justice would bring her son back but getting accountability may “bring some sense of peace”.

Victims: From left, Mark Smith, Dane Chinnery, Phil Seary and Dorota Rynkiewicz (l-r) all died in the crash

Victims: From left Philip Logan, Donald Collett and Robert Huxley

She said, “We have to live with the consequences of other people’s actions for the rest of our lives. I’m living a life sentence. It should never have happened.”

Tracy Angelo said her father Donald Collett was “very protective and loving” towards his family and friends.

On the effect of seeing aerial pictures of the crash site, she said: “We know our darling, beautiful dad was in among that devastation and all he was doing was going to work.

“We all remain completely devastated and individually we will never be the same again.”

Jonathan Ashley-Norman KC, prosecuting, said the main failing of the companies was to make a suitable risk assessment of such a high-speed derailment happening.

There was “over-reliance on fallible humans” and tram drivers were “let down” by their employer TOL, and by TfL, the court was told.

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