Croydon tram crash inquest: Jury sworn in

image captionSeven people were killed when a tram derailed near Sandilands tram stop

A jury has been sworn in for the inquest into the deaths of seven people killed in the Croydon tram crash.

Coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe held a minute's silence for the victims on the first day of the inquest at Croydon Town Hall.

A further 51 people were injured when the derailment happened in south London on 9 November 2016.

The first evidence will be heard on Tuesday. The inquest is expected to last three months.

It had been due to begin in October, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch found that the tram, being driven by Alfred Dorris, came off the tracks on a sharp bend at almost four times the speed limit.

Jean Smith, mother of 35-year-old crash victim Mark Smith, said she felt "relief" the inquiry was finally taking place, but was also "dreading it".

image copyrightFamily Handout
image captionMark Smith, Dane Chinnery, Phil Seary and Dorota Rynkiewicz (l-r) all died in the crash

"It means reliving the nightmare all over again. And that's upsetting beyond words," she added.

She said she hoped the process would see "culpability" for those responsible for "failing to heed warnings" before the crash.

image copyrightBritish Transport Police
image captionPhilip Logan (left), Donald Collett (centre) and Robert Huxley (right), also died

Danielle Wynne, whose grandfather Philip Logan, 52, died in the crash, said she wanted "answers on how this was allowed to happen".Lawyer Ben Posford, representing relatives of five of the victims, said they had been "badly let down" by operator Tram Operations Limited, a subsidiary of First Group, and Transport for London, which owns the network.

"Their hope for the inquest is that it will give them a better understanding, and some long overdue answers, as to why their loved ones are no longer here," he said.

Mr Posford added that it was "very disappointing" that Mr Dorris had been diagnosed as unfit to attend the inquest, but the families "still hope that they will hear an apology from him".

He was arrested at the scene of the crash, but charges of gross negligence and manslaughter were later dropped.

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