Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford bus station death: Firm and council fined

Bedford Bus Station
Image caption The redevelopment of Bedford Bus station took place between January 2014 and March 2015

A bus firm and a council have been fined after a woman was killed by a lorry at a bus station.

Cambus Ltd was prosecuted after the death of Nicola Berridge during redevelopment work of the Bedford station in February 2015.

At St Albans Crown Court, the firm was convicted of failing to discharge a duty to a non-employee under the Health and Safety Act and fined £350,000.

Bedford Borough Council was fined £300,000 after admitting the offence.

During the 2018 trial, the jury acquitted road surfacing contractor DJT Surfacing Ltd of the same charge.

On the day of the death of Mrs Berridge, 53, from Biggleswade - 13 February, 2015 - the station was frequently congested with buses and there was a problem with contractors' vehicles being parked within the working part of the bus station, the court heard.

Image caption Nicola Berridge suffered "catastrophic and immediately fatal injuries" the court heard

The lorry driver was partially straddling a pedestrian crossing when he parked at the station.

Prosecutor Valerie Charbit said Ms Berridge got off a bus where another bus was parked just in front and she walked onto the pedestrian crossing, passing a gap between two parked buses and was hit by the lorry.

She said: "She made her way across the pedestrian crossing and then moved off the crossing to step out in front of the parked lorry so she could continue to cross the bus station."

'Inadequate co-ordination'

The driver of the lorry, belonging to DJT, moved forward and ran her over, causing "catastrophic and immediately fatal injuries" she said.

Ben Mills, for the council, said the authority apologised unreservedly for falling short in a number of respects.

James Puzey, for Cambus, said the company had learned lessons that had already been put in place.

Referring to the council, the judge said he was left with a "strong feeling there was inadequate co-ordination."

He said Cambus had parked buses too close to the zebra crossing, reducing visibility.

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