The inquest into the Croydon tram crash that killed a total of seven people has been delayed until spring due to the current lockdown.
There was meant to be a 12-week hearing that was supposed to start on the 16 November.
The inquest slated for Croydon’s Fairfield Halls was expected to hear arguments that human error and safety failings were to blame for the accident that occurred four years ago on 9 November 2016. The accident also left 51 people injured.
Courts themselves are exempt from the national lockdown in London, however, the senior coroner for South London, Sarah Ormond-Walshe has decided that it is “likely that a hearing of this size can be conducted much more safely in spring 2021.”
Ormond-Walshe said holding the inquest now could pose a risk of health to the participants. She said she understood the “desire of all participants, especially the families of the deceased, to progress these inquests to a conclusion as soon as reasonably practicable.”
The hearing was first due to begin on 19 October but was initially postponed due to the rise in Covid-19 cases within London.
Ben Posford at London law firm Osbornes Law (representing the families of the five out of seven victims) said: “Understandably the families are frustrated and upset by this latest postponement…they sincerely hope the inquest can start without interruption in the spring.”
During the accident the tram came off the tracks at almost four times the speed limit, it was dark and there was heavy rain. Allegedly the driver, Alfred Dorris, had drifted into a ‘micro sleep’.
Dorris was arrested at these scene, however the charges of gross negligence and manslaughter were later dropped by British Transport Police. A pre-inquest held in September heard that Dorris would be unable to attend the inquest as he was unwell.