It’s been five years since seven people were killed and dozens more were injured in a tram crash in Croydon.
In the early hours of November 9 in 2016, the tram derailed at Sandilands Junction, killing seven people on their way to work and and injuring more than 60 people.
The tram was the fifth of the morning.
Today, to mark five years since the tram disaster, a memorial is being held in New Addington led by the Mayor of London.
The ceremony includes a period of silence and floral tributes.
The emergency services have also today paid tribute to the victims and their loved ones.
London Fire Brigade has said its thoughts “remain firmly” with the loved ones of those who lost their lives and all those who were affected.
London’s Air Ambulance Charity said thoughts are with “all those who sadly lost their lives, the families who were affected by this tragedy and our emergency service colleagues who attended the scene that day”.
London Ambulance Service echoed the sentiments and said thoughts “are with loved ones and with all injured and affected by the incident” along with colleagues.
The anniversary comes just four months after a jury concluded at an inquest that the victims died as a result of an accident and were not unlawfully killed.
On its 10th day of deliberations at Croydon Town Hall on July 22 this year, the 10-person inquest jury reached a unanimous conclusion that their deaths were a result of an accident.
Several members of the victims’ families walked out of the room at Croydon Town Hall in tears after the decision was announced.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the #Croydon Tram Crash. We remember those who sadly lost their lives. Our thoughts remain firmly with their loved ones and all those who were affected pic.twitter.com/RFBAZz2b1Q
— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) November 9, 2021
Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, and Philip Logan, 52, all from New Addington, and Donald Collett, 62, and Mark Smith, 35, both from Croydon, were killed in the crash.
Mr Logan’s granddaughter, Danielle Wynne, told the PA news agency: “I’m so upset and angry.
“It’s not an accident. Someone is to blame.
“We want lessons to be learned so that no other family has to go through this.”
Mr Smith’s mother, Jean Smith, 64, said: “I am bitterly disappointed as justice has not been done.
“It has been a total farce as we have only heard half of the evidence and no-one who could potentially have been responsible for the crash has been called as a witness.
“It’s morally wrong that we haven’t been able to hear from anybody from TfL (Transport for London), TOL, or the driver during the proceedings, whatever legal precedent says.
“It feels like they have been able to hide from giving evidence and it simply isn’t fair or just. Justice has been suffocated because of the coroner’s ruling.”
During the inquest, the jury heard the tram toppled over and spun off the tracks in darkness and heavy rain near the Sandilands stop after hitting a curve at 73kph (45mph).
Today marks 5 years since our crew attended the Croydon Tram Crash. Our thoughts are with all those who sadly lost their lives, the families who were affected by this tragedy and our emergency service colleagues who attended the scene that day 🧡 pic.twitter.com/Jjzjy6jnnq
— London’s Air Ambulance Charity (@LDNairamb) November 9, 2021
The speed limit for that stretch of track was 20kph (12mph).
All of the fatalities had been either fully or partially thrown out of the tram through the windows or doors when the glass shattered.
Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) chief inspector Simon French told the inquest that the driver, Alfred Dorris, may have slipped into a period of “microsleep” on the stretch of track ahead of the curve.
He said extra signage could have mitigated the risk and there were apparent “culture issues” at TOL that meant drivers were unwilling to admit to speeding or other errors.
There was a previous incident just 10 days before the crash when a driver hit the same bend at 45kmh (27mph) and very nearly overturned, but the incident was insufficiently investigated, Mr French added.
The inquest was read evidence that an officer from the Metropolitan Police who was at the scene of the crash heard a man who he believed to be the driver say: “What have I done? I’ve killed them.”
Five years on, we remember the seven people who lost their lives in the Croydon tram crash. Our thoughts are with their loved ones and with all injured and affected by the incident.
We also think of the emergency services who responded on scene and in control rooms that morning. pic.twitter.com/MKfB7M3ZdF
— London Ambulance Service (@Ldn_Ambulance) November 9, 2021
During police interviews, Mr Dorris said he was “confused”, but when asked if he had fallen asleep he replied: “No, no, no.”
The families of those killed say he has never apologised for the crash.
He was arrested at the scene of the crash, but in October 2019 the Crown Prosecution Service announced he would not be charged with manslaughter due to a lack of evidence.
The CPS also said the corporate manslaughter charges would not be brought against TfL or TOL.