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Hatfield history

Letters

Four people were killed when a rail shattered beneath a high speed train on the East Coast Main Line near Hatfield in October 2000. The cause was found to be gauge corner cracking, a relatively new and little understood phenomenon.

The CPS announced six people were to be tried for corporate manslaughter and breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act on 17 July 2003, although charges against one individual were later dropped.

These were: former Balfour Beatty civil engineer Nicholas Jeffries, former Balfour Beatty regional director Anthony Walker, Railtrack's asset manager Alistair Cook, area asset manager Sean Fugill and track engineer Keith Lea. It was also announced that six further individuals would face health and safety charges in a later trial.

The trial began in late January 2005. Corporate manslaughter charges were thrown out in July, when Balfour Beatty admitted to health and safety breaches. The jury acquitted the five engineers of health and safety breaches on 6 September. It found Network Rail guilty of the same charges.

The CPS announced last week that it was to abandon the second trial for health and safety breaches.

Sentencing of Balfour Beatty and Network Rail took place on Friday, with the judge handing out record fines of £10M and £3.5M respectively.

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