Croydon tram crash: Victims remembered on fifth anniversary of tragedy

·3-min read
Investigation work after the Croydon tram crash (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
Investigation work after the Croydon tram crash (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

The families of the Croydon tram crash victims said the tragedy still feels “very raw” as they marked the fifth anniversary at a memorial event on Tuesday.

Seven passengers died and more than 60 were injured when the tram derailed at Sandilands junction on November 9, 2016.

Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, and Philip Logan, 52, all from New Addington, and Donald Collett, 62, and Mark Smith, 35, both from Croydon, all died at the scene.

During the inquest, the jury heard the tram toppled over and spun off the tracks in darkness and heavy rain near the Sandilands stop after hitting a curve at 45mph. The speed limit for the tracks was 12mph.

RAIB chief inspector Simon French told the inquest the driver, Alfred Dorris, may have slipped into a period of “microsleep” on the stretch of track ahead of the curve.

The anniversary on Tuesday comes just four months after an inquest ruled that that the seven victims of the derailment died as a result of an accident. The victims’ families were furious that a conclusion of unlawful killing was not reached.

Danielle Whetter, granddaughter of Philip Logan, said this year’s anniversary felt “very difficult” following the inquest.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Maybe I’ve never been able to properly grieve because there has always been something alongside the anniversary, whether that was the decision not to prosecute or the inquest.

“I am still very angry with the decision this isn’t the end, the way I see it there is no justice.

“My love goes out to the whole of New Addington and everyone who was affected that day.”

Politicians, locals and families of the victims gathered at a memorial service in New Addington at 11am on Tuesday morning.

Hamida Ali, the leader of Croydon Council, said: “The Croydon tram derailment was a devastating incident in which seven residents lost their lives, many more were injured and countless lives were changed forever.

“We will always remember them, and stand united in support of their friends, family and wider community.”

The London Fire Brigade tweeted: “We remember those who sadly lost their lives. Our thoughts remain firmly with their loved ones and all those who were affected.”

Ben Posford, a lawyer representing the families of five of the victims, claimed there were “inadequate and incorrect rulings” during the original inquest.

In August, Mr Posford wrote to Attorney General Michael Ellis QC asking him to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest.

At the original inquest, south London senior coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe refused to call evidence from witnesses, tram drivers or experts who had reported alleged safety failings.

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