The driver of the tram that crashed in Croydon nearly three years ago will not face charges.
The crash happened in the early morning of 9 November 2016 when the tram approached a bend at Sandilands near Croydon too fast. It derailed and overturned.
There were sixty nine passengers on board. Seven passengers died and many others were seriously injured. The driver survived without serious injury.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that forensic examinations of the tram and track revealed no defects that might cause or explain the derailment.
No drugs or alcohol were detected in the driver, and he suffered from no known medical condition that could have impaired his driving. He had the reputation of a reliable and experienced tram driver.
Jenny Hopkins, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: ‘The Croydon tram crash has had a devastating effect on the local community, especially the families and friends of the seven people who so tragically lost their lives.
‘The CPS has carefully reviewed all the available material in this case in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and concluded that the evidence does not support a prosecution of the driver for the offence of gross negligence manslaughter. We considered other criminal offences but the evidence did not support a prosecution.
‘We fully recognise the impact this decision will have on families who have lost their loved ones and we have offered to meet with them to explain our reasons in full. Our thoughts remain with everybody affected by this tragedy.’
The CPS said the criminal investigation concentrated on driver error as the cause of the derailment, and in particular on the allegation that the driver fell asleep shortly before the tram derailed. The principal offence considered by the CPS was that of gross negligence manslaughter.
It explained that to bring this charge it had to prove that negligence causing death amounts to gross negligence and is therefore a crime.
It said that by far the most likely explanation is that the driver fell asleep, or into a microsleep shortly before derailment but that if this is what happened, it is clear that this was an unintended and involuntary act.
There was no compelling evidence that the driver had done anything which he ought to have known could adversely affect his concentration or make him susceptible to falling asleep whilst driving the tram, nor was there evidence that he had culpably contributed to his negligent failure to drive the tram in a safe manner.
The CPS said it had considered whether any company should be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter but that there is no evidence that any was guilty of gross organisational failures that caused the deaths.