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Potters Bar prosecution is welcomed

The prosecution of Network Rail and maintenance company Jarvis Rail over the 2002 Potters Bar rail crash has been welcomed by the family of one of the seven victims.

The two companies will be prosecuted for "breaches of health and safety law" and, if found guilty, both could face unlimited fines.

The prosecution, announced by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), follows the conclusion of the inquest this year into the deaths at Potters Bar in Hertfordshire where the jury returned seven verdicts of accidental death.

Six people aboard a London to King's Lynn train were killed, along with one pedestrian.

Perdita Kark, daughter of Austen Kark who died in the crash, said: "The only thing that bothers me is why it has taken nearly nine years to get to this point. My feeling is that it should have happened far sooner following the crash. We shouldn't have to have fought and fought for so long to get an inquest. It's absolutely right and proper. I hope they appreciate why they are being prosecuted and learn from their mistakes."

The other victims were: Emma Knights, Alexander Ogunwusi, Agnes Quinlivan, Jonael Schickler, Chia Hsin Lin, and Chia Chin Wu.

Those who campaigned for a prosecution welcomed the decision.

Gerry Doherty, leader of the TSSA rail union, said: "It is deeply regrettable that it has taken eight long years and much suffering by the families involved to get to this stage. It seems at long last we are going to find just who was responsible for this tragedy."

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union said the announcement was "better late than never".

A Health and Safety Executive report into the tragedy listed a catalogue of faults which led to the crash on May 10 2002. Loose nuts on the points had caused the crash and earlier inspections had not spotted defects, it found. The points were not adjusted properly and there was a failure to understand their design and safety requirements, it concluded.


From Belfast Telegraph