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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Victims still wait for apology
The battered coach after the crash
Relatives of the victims are still seeking compensation
The daughter of one of the victims of the Potters Bar rail crash has said that a report into the tragedy only says what the families already knew.

A report from the Health and Safety Executive said the points that caused the fatal rail crash were "poorly maintained".

The engineering firm Jarvis, which had responsibility for track maintenance in the area, has always insisted that sabotage could not be ruled out.

However, the report said no evidence has emerged to suggest the crash was caused by sabotage or vandalism.

'Poor maintenance'

Perdita Kark, whose father Austen was one of seven people killed in the crash in May 2002, said that the report "confirms what we already knew".

"Of course, it was not sabotage.

"It was not a one-off. There is dramatic evidence of poor maintenance and bad management across the rail network. And this could very easily happen again.

"Days after the disaster, Steven Norris (a director of Jarvis) said there was compelling evidence of sabotage.

"I would like him to show that evidence to the Health and Safety Executive because they have seen no such thing."

Ms Kark said she was still fighting for somebody to admit responsibility for the crash.

I would like many millions to be paid in compensation so it is not cheaper to endanger human lives than it is to provide proper maintenance of the rail system.
Perdita Kark
She said: "Why has nobody said 'we are responsible'?

"That would have been the honourable thing to do.

"You want someone to say 'sorry'.

"It is not easy to see someone killed or injured and not have someone apologise and say 'we are going to make this better and ensure that it never happens again'.

"Instead we have to spend time fighting and arguing instead of grieving. It is very traumatic."

Ms Kark repeated her calls for a public inquiry into the crash and for compensation for the victims.

Public inquiry

"There needs to be compensation," she said.

"Lives must be repaired. You can't replace people who have been killed but you can repair some of the damage done to people's lives.

"I would like many millions to be paid in compensation so it is not cheaper to endanger human lives than it is to provide proper maintenance of the rail system."

Campaigning lawyer Louise Christian, who represents some of the families of victims of the crash said: "The report demonstrates in graphic terms that a decaying rail infrastructure with damaged safety-critical parts is not subject to proper monitoring, maintenance or replacement."

Ms Christian said the findings of deficiencies were "alarming in the extreme" and added that the HSE recommendations "do not even begin to address the problem that looks to be out there".

She said the HSE had merely invited Network Rail to conduct a review of its management systems.

"As Network Rail and Jarvis have both refused to accept responsibility for the crash, it is not surprising that more than a year later they have not undertaken such a review," said Ms Christian, who repeated her call for a public inquiry into the crash.


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