£300k fine for council after teen minibus tragedy
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.”