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Viola Beach car driver 'could have driven off bridge to avoid collision'

Published 10/03/2016

All four members of Viola Beach and their manager were killed in the accident (Picture @jholsson)
All four members of Viola Beach and their manager were killed in the accident (Picture @jholsson)

The driver of a car that plunged into a Swedish river, killing British indie band Viola Beach, probably drove off a bridge "intentionally" but did not intend to kill anyone, police believe.

The four members - Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin - were killed alongside their manager Craig Tarry when their hire car plunged 25 metres (80ft) off a bridge into a canal near the Swedish capital Stockholm at around 2.30am on February 13.

A preliminary post-mortem examination revealed that the driver, who police have not yet identified, did not have drugs or alcohol in his body.

But investigators are examining the possibility that the Nissan Qashqai was deliberately crashed through a barrier, which was in place as the bridge had been raised for a passing ship.

Lars Berglund, one of the police investigators, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: "We cannot find any external factors. It looks like the driver acted deliberately."

He added: "From what I can see, most of them died when the car hit the bridge."

Police have examined CCTV footage of the incident. A reconstruction by the newspaper shows the band's car slowing to a near stop behind a queue of cars waiting for the barriers to open before swerving left on to a narrow hard shoulder then accelerating and crashing through barriers and disappearing from view.

Mr Berglund told the Aftonbladet that the barriers were clearly visible to waiting traffic, as well as warning lights.

He added: "As far as I can see, most (of the band) had already been killed up there on the bridge. It looks like the driver was acting intentionally."

But he told the Mirror Online: "There is no suggestion that it was intended to kill himself or the band. I think the driver's only intention was to avoid a crash."

No mechanical fault has been found with either the car or the bridge's barriers

The band, who had been tipped for stardom, had been due to play a homecoming gig at Warrington's Pyramid on March 12.

Fans mounted a campaign to get them to number one with their song, Swings & Waterslides, but it failed to break into the top 10 of the official singles chart.

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