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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 09:58 GMT
Potters Bar victim seeks prosecution
Seven died in the rail crash in May
Seven died in the rail crash in May
Novelist Nina Bawden, who was severely injured in the Potters Bar train crash, is demanding that those responsible for the accident be prosecuted for manslaughter.

Mrs Bawden lost her husband, BBC executive Austin Kark, in the disaster which was blamed on faulty points.

In a special end of the year essay for BBC Radio 4's Today programme she says corporate manslaughter charges should be brought.

Seven people were killed and more than 70 injured when the rear coach of a West Anglia Great Northern train heading for King's Lynn in Norfolk became derailed 150 yards south of Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire on 10 May.

Nina Bawden
Nina Bawden's husband Austin Kark was killed in the crash

Mrs Bawden was knocked unconscious and cannot remember the Potters Bar crash - but when she came around severely injured, she was told her husband, the former BBC executive Austin Kark had been killed.

The carriage they had been travelling in had rolled off the tracks and up onto the platform of Potters Bar station.

In her essay for the Today programme, Mrs Bawden attacks the government for failing to make the state of the railways a priority and denying her and other survivors a public inquiry.

Sabotage theory

Following the crash, the contractors responsible for the faulty points, Jarvis, said there was compelling evidence they had been sabotaged.

Mrs Bawden rejects that claim, saying the only evidence was of bad maintenance.

She says those she describes as the "guilty men" should face corporate manslaughter charges.

My husband was a notably conscientious man, killed by people who did not do their job properly

Nina Bawden
The novelist said: "All British governments since 1948 have made a mess of the railways.

"It is ludicrous that trains and track should be run by different operators."

She added: "It is clear that for Tony Blair, the railways are not a priority.

"His government still denies us a public inquiry."

She and her husband had been planning a holiday together but Mrs Bawden considers in her essay "how dangerous it was to plan".

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Novelist Nina Bawden
reads her end of year essay

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See also:

28 Aug 02 | England
11 Aug 02 | Business
11 Jun 02 | England
11 May 02 | England
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