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ORR considering criminal Potters Bar charges

Rail regulators said they were considering criminal proceedings after the Potters Bar rail crash jury singled out failures in inspection and/or maintenance of the points.

Welcoming the end of the inquest, an Office of Rail Regulation spokesman said, “we will now proceed to determine whether any criminal proceedings for health and safety offences should be brought in accordance with the Work Related Deaths Protocol.”

The Crown Prosecution Service - which ruled out criminal proceedings in 2005 - said it would consider whether any new evidence came to light during the inquest.

After the seven-week inquest in Letchworth Judge Michael Findlay Baker QC promised to file a report expressing his concern about the risk of future deaths.

Six passengers - Austen Kark, Emma Knights, Jonael Schickler, Alexander Ogunwusi, Chia Hsin Lin and Chia Chin Wu - were killed in the crash in Hertfordshire on May 10, 2002.

The seventh victim, Agnes Quinlivan, who was walking nearby, died after she was hit by debris.

More than 70 people were injured when the 12.45 King’s Cross to King’s Lynn train crashed as it reached Potters Bar, where it was not due to stop, at around 1pm.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said it was “carefully” considering the verdict and the coroner’s impending report which is due to warn of continued risk to passengers.

“A report by the Office of Rail Regulation earlier this week confirmed that the UK railways are among the safest in Europe, but we must never be complacent,” said an Association of Train Operating Companies spokesman.

“Train companies will study carefully all recommendations made by the coroner.”

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