Families pay tribute to victims of Croydon tram crash as inquest begins

·4-min read
Tram accident (PA Archive)
Tram accident (PA Archive)

The families of seven passengers who died in the Croydon tram crash have paid tribute to their loved one as the long-delayed inquest into their deaths began.

Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Bob Huxley, 63, Phil Logan, 52, Mark Smith, 35 and Donald Collett, 62, all died when the tram derailed at the Sandilands junction on the morning of November 9 2016.

A jury has been sworn to hear the inquest at Croydon Town Hall, as relatives paid emotional tributes on Tuesday morning to those who died.

Mr Huxley’s son Ross said their family have been left with “memories of a wonderful sense of humour, of happiness and good times shared with loved ones and friends, which will be remembered with great affection for generations to come.

“Bob encouraged and comforted but never steered, so through his family and friends tears we see the blessing of knowing and loving a great family man.”

He said the avid music and Chelsea FC fan, from New Addington, had a career as an electrician spanning 40 years, and was “loyal, dependable and totally committed” to his family.

Mr Logan was on his way to work as a bricklayer when he died, his widow Marilyn Logan told the court, saying the news was “absolutely devastating”.

PA Wire
PA Wire

“Phil was a very energetic man, and he wasn’t happy unless he was doing something,” she said, in a statement read by her daughter Danielle.

“In a way I am still in denial about the loss of my husband. All of my family were badly affected by the loss of a great husband and a very kind man.”

The inquest heard Mr Chinnery, who worked for wet waste firm Hydro Cleansing, had been a huge Crystal Palace fan, and also loved classic cars.

His mother Beverley Gray said he had also been a big fan of the band Madness, and that the band sent cards and flowers when they heard of his death.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and what he would have become”, she said. “I wonder what he would look like and if he would have changed much?

“He was a handsome lad with an infectious laugh. He was always laughing, always telling jokes.”

Philip Seary’s wife Ann paid tribute to him as ‘funny, silly and just a little bit dopey’PA Media
Philip Seary’s wife Ann paid tribute to him as ‘funny, silly and just a little bit dopey’PA Media

Mr Seary’s widow Ann described how she met her husband, “a kind, extremely hard working and much loved and caring person”, on a blind date in America.

She said Mr Seary, an electrical engineer at the Royal Opera House, had become a devoted step-father to her three daughters, calling him “warm, lovable, kind, generous, easy to talk to and truly one of the good guys with a heart of gold”.

“He was extremely likeable and had an impact on everyone he met, I do not think I will ever come to terms with how cruelly he was taken from us”, she said.

Tracy Angelo, Mr Collett’s daughter, said her father had always lived in south London and worked on many of the skyscrapers in Canary Wharf.

“One of the things he would always say to us if we called him of an evening with a worry or a problem; he would tell us to sleep on it and things would always look better in the morning,” she said.

“Unfortunately though, this piece of advice has not been something that I can say is true since November 9 2016, things have not looked better in the morning for any of us without dad’s smiling face in our world.”

Flowers are left at the scene near the tram crashPA Archive
Flowers are left at the scene near the tram crashPA Archive

Mother-of-two Ms Rynkiewicz had been on her way to her job at Millies Cookies at Victoria Station when she was killed. A trained accountant, she and her husband Andrzej met at university and married on Christmas Day 2005 before moving to the UK.

Mr Rynkiewicz told the inquest that their daughters had been just seven and five when she died.

“(Dorota) juggled being a mother with her aspirations to continue progressing in her career. As well as working hard she was a wonderful mother to our girls.”

He added: “Having to tell them about the crash was awful. Not a day goes by when the girls and I don’t miss her terribly.”

Mark Smith’s mother Jean said her son, a specialist glass installer, had been on his way to work at a site in St James Park on the day of the crash.

The father-of-one was engaged to be married was described as “a dedicated, reliable, responsible, respectful, honest and trustworthy young man”.

The inquest is due to last 14 weeks, exploring the causes of the fatal crash and safety systems on the tram line.

Read More

Families pay tribute to victims of Croydon tram crash ahead of inquest

Jury sworn in for Croydon tram crash inquest

Bereaved families hope for ‘overdue’ answers at Croydon tram inquest

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting