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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 September, 2004, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Charges dropped against Railtrack
Gerald Corbett speaking days after the Hatfield crash in 2000
Gerald Corbett says Hatfield victims are in his prayers
Corporate manslaughter charges faced by Railtrack over the Hatfield train crash have been dropped.

Charges over the crash against former Railtrack boss Gerald Corbett and two other executives were also dropped.

Mr Justice Mackay at the Royal Courts of Justice ruled there was no evidence to support allegations against them.

Several other former Balfour Beatty executives still face charges over the crash on 17 October 2000, which claimed four lives.

Mr Corbett had been facing charges under the Health and Safety Act.

The Hatfield victims will be absolutely devastated
Louise Christian
The legal team representing Mr Corbett, who is now chairman of Woolworths, issued a statement following the decision.

It reads: "The judge found that there was no evidence to support the prosecution case that performance or profit was placed before safety in Corbett's case.

"The judge held that the prosecution case that nothing effective had been done by Corbett was not borne out by the evidence before him."

The scene of the Hatfield crash in 2000
The Hatfield crash claimed four lives

Manslaughter charges against Charles Pollard, 45, director of the London North Eastern Zone of Railtrack, were quashed.

A Health and Safety charge against Christopher Leah, 55, director of safety and operations at Railtrack, was also dropped.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Pollard said he was "delighted" - but this emotion was tempered by the suffering of the families affected by the crash.

Describing the feeling of facing the charges, he added: "My life has been hellish.

"You think about it every moment of every day - but that is nothing compared to others who were involved in the crash."

Absolutely devastated

The crash occurred when a GNER express derailed half-a-mile south of Hatfield station in Hertfordshire.

Those who died in the accident were Steve Arthur, 46, from Pease Pottage, West Sussex; Peter Monkhouse, 50, of Headingley, Leeds; Leslie Gray, 43, of Tuxford, Nottingham; and Robert James Alcorn, 37, of Auckland, New Zealand.

Solicitor Louise Christian, who represents one of the Hatfield victims and in addition to other rail crash victims, said: "The Hatfield victims will be absolutely devastated."

"They will feel incredibly let down and the victims of the [1999] Paddington crash who are waiting to see if charges will be brought in their case, will also be worried now."

The BBC's June Kelly
"It was an accident which had an impact on the entire rail network"

Hatfield victim's family gets 1m
21 Jun 04  |  England
Hatfield trial could last year
30 Sep 03  |  Beds/Bucks/Herts


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