Croydon tram crash driver will not be prosecuted as third anniversary approaches

By Aliss Higham
November 2 2019, 16.50

The driver in the Croydon tram crash that killed seven people will not be prosecuted.

Alfred Dorris, from Beckenham, who was expected to be charged with gross negligence manslaughter, but will not be due to a lack of evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Transport for London will also not face charges of corporate manslaughter. 

The news comes not far from the three year anniversary of the crash on November 9. 

The official report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch concluded that Mr Dorris fell asleep whilst approaching a bend at four times the speed limit just after 6am.

The RAIB said it is ‘probable’ he ‘temporarily lost awareness’ on a straight section of track and may have fallen into a ‘microsleep’ for up to 49 seconds.

Detective Superintendent Gary Richardson, who led the police investigation, said: “We know that this latest update may not be the news that many, including the family members who lost loved ones, had hoped for.

“But we are satisfied that every scrap of possible evidence has been scrutinised and, after lengthy consultation with the CPS, it has been concluded that the threshold to bring charges of manslaughter against the tram driver, TfL and Tram Operations Ltd have not been met.”

A civic ceremony will take place in New Addington next week to mark the third anniversary.

Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: “Although nearly three years have passed since that terrible day, we still hold those who sadly lost their lives in our memories. The ceremony will allow all those affected by this tragedy to stand together and pay their respects, whilst also showing their support to survivors and the wider New Addington community.”

Mr Dorris was arrested at the scene, after the tram it derailed and overturned on the approach to Sandilands stop in East Croydon with 69 passengers onboard.

TFL has introduced additional safety measures since the crash, including infrared eyeball monitors to alert drivers if they show signs of falling asleep.

Earlier this year the Mayor Sadiq Khan was accused of covering up vital evidence into the incident by a London Assembly member.

Keith Prince accused the mayor and TfL of failing to supply critical tram safety evidence to the investigation. 

He asked if the mayor would open an independent investigation into alleged censorship of a safety report into the fatigue of drivers, requested by the tram operators. 

The mayor repeatedly said he was unclear what the point of a further investigation would be.

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