£300k fine for coun­cil af­ter teen minibus tragedy

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

A COUN­CIL has been fined £300,000 af­ter a pupil was killed when he was hit by a minibus on school grounds.

Fif­teen-year-old Ash­ley Tal­bot died on De­cem­ber 10, 2014, at Maesteg Com­pre­hen­sive School.

Ash­ley suf­fered mul­ti­ple in­juries and was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the bus, PE teacher Christo­pher Brooks, was un­able to avoid Ash­ley af­ter he ran into the road to catch his school bus home.

No po­lice ac­tion was taken against Mr Brooks af­ter an in­quest ruled that Ash­ley’s death was ac­ci­den­tal. Brid­gend coun­cil was told it would be prose­cuted by the Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive (HSE), in re­la­tion to Ash­ley’s death.

The lo­cal author­ity pleaded guilty to be­ing an em­ployer which failed to dis­charge gen­eral health and safety duty to per­sons other than em­ploy­ees.

Fri­day’s hear­ing at Cardiff Crown Court was told Ash­ley’s death could have been avoided.

Brid­gend coun­cil was fined a to­tal of £300,000 and or­dered to pay £29,228 in court costs.

Recorder of Cardiff Judge Eleri Rees of­fered Ash­ley’s par­ents the court’s sin­cere con­do­lences say­ing they had suf­fered an “ap­palling loss”.

The court heard that con­cerns were raised be­fore the school was opened re­gard­ing risks to pedes­tri­ans from mov­ing ve­hi­cles. Fol­low­ing Ash­ley’s death, the coun­cil im­ple­mented bar­ri­ers, a school lock­down, im­proved sig­nage and an ex­tended bus lane at Maesteg Com­pre­hen­sive School. They later built an­other bus lay-by, at a cost of about £30,000.

Brid­gend coun­cil’s cor­po­rate di­rec­tor for ed­u­ca­tion and fam­ily sup­port, Lind­say Har­vey, said: “We deeply re­gret the tragic cir­cum­stances that re­sulted in the death of Ash­ley Tal­bot.”

Ash­ley Tal­bot

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