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Relatives remember Croydon tram crash dead as police name remaining victims

Published 12/11/2016

A damaged tram carriage is seen wrapped in tarpaulin as preparations are made to remove it from the scene of Wednesday's crash in Croydon
A damaged tram carriage is seen wrapped in tarpaulin as preparations are made to remove it from the scene of Wednesday's crash in Croydon
Police officers at the site of the Croydon tram crash pay their respects

The family and friends of passengers who died in the Croydon tram crash marched together on Saturday in a touching tribute as police named the final three victims.

British Transport Police said Donald Collett, 62, of Croydon; Philip Logan, 52, and Robert Huxley, 63, both of New Addington, died in the accident when the tram overturned as it entered a bend at high speed.

A total of six men and one woman died in the crash.

A group of up to 100 people on Saturday marched down the road carrying banners, flags and flowers to the spot where hundreds of bouquets had already been laid for the victims of the derailing in Croydon, south London.

People spilled out onto the road as they hugged each other and looked at the tributes that had been laid near to the site where the tram crashed during the morning commute on Wednesday.

Many were wearing the Crystal Palace football strip or scarves while some of the bouquets laid were red and blue to reflect the team's colours.

Two of the victims - named as 19-year-old Dane Chinnery and Philip Seary, 57, online - were fans of the club, which a member of the group said had confirmed that a minute's silence would be held during its match with Manchester City on November 19.

Some of the group attached flags to a lamppost where there were already Crystal Palace scarves tied.

Addressing the mourners one man said: "I've got a huge hole in my life which I've got to fill in, and it's going to take to the day I die."

Friends and family clapped for one minute as they thought about those who had lost their lives in the derailment, ending by singing: "They're one of our own."

Several cars sounded their horns in support as the families hugged by the bank of flowers.

More than 50 people were injured when the carriages flipped over as the tram turned around a sharp bend at around 6.10am near the Sandilands stop while travelling from New Addington to Wimbledon.

Among the dead were a mother with two young children, a new father, a teenager and a grandfather on his way to work after swapping shifts, according to reports.

The tram's driver was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and questioned by investigators who have said the vehicle was travelling "significantly" above the permitted speed.

The 42-year-old man from Beckenham was released on bail, and investigators are probing whether the driver had fallen asleep.

A report that a tram "lifted onto one side" at 40mph in the same area on October 31 is also one of the British Transport Police (BTP)'s lines of inquiry, it said.

On Saturday morning the BTP confirmed that the 100ft-long articulated tram had been split into sections which were craned onto a flatbed lorry.

All sections have now been taken away from the scene as the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) continues its investigation, it added.

The only woman to have been killed in the crash was named as 35-year-old Dorota Rynkiewicz, a mother with two young daughters from New Addington.

Colleagues who started a crowdfunding page to raise £5,000 for her family said Ms Rynkiewicz was "loved by many people".

Another victim was named by police as Mark Smith, 35, from Croydon, who reportedly had an 18-month old son with his fiancee and was planning to get married next year.

"My sister is completely devastated by this," his fiancee's brother told The Sun.

The keen fisherman could "make everyone laugh", according to a tribute posted by his cousin Tom Smith.

"We are all in bits and I just wish you could walk back into your home with that smile on your face," Mr Smith wrote on Facebook.

The glazier was on the way to work when he died, according to reports.

Friends and family of grandfather Philip Seary, 57, also known as "Tank", who was named online as one of the dead, left messages of condolence to a "lovely gentle giant of a man".

In a statement, his family said: "We as a family are in shock, completely heartbroken and utterly devastated. We have lost a much-loved wonderful son, faithful husband and a loving and doting father and grandfather.

"Everyone that knew him knew he was a gentle giant with a heart to match."

They said Mr Seary, from New Addington, will "be immensely missed by all that had the great fortune to know him".

A friend told the Daily Mail that Mr Seary was only on the tram after swapping shifts at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. He reportedly had two daughters, Karina Mimms and Erica Heglan.

Teenager Mr Chinnery, described as a "friendly, genuine lad", was the first victim to be identified following the crash.

The RAIB has launched a witness appeal, with anyone who was on the tram or has information relevant to the accident being asked to complete an incident form on the organisation's website.

An interim report into what happened will be published by the RAIB next week, with a final report, including any safety recommendations, coming at the conclusion of the investigation.

On Friday, an extra minute's silence was held to remember the victims during the town's Armistice Day ceremony.

An online fundraising page set up by Croydon Council to enable "ongoing care and support" to those directly affected by the crash has raised more than £7,000.

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