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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Selby victims 'unlawfully killed'
The crash scene
Four rail workers and six passengers died in the crash
The six passengers and four railway employees killed in the Selby train disaster were unlawfully killed, an inquest jury decided on Friday.

The jury took three hours to returned the unanimous verdicts on the deaths of the ten victims of the crash at Great Heck, near Selby, on 28 February 2001.

West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff has been hearing evidence at Harrogate's Majestic Hotel since Monday.

The jury of five men and six women heard how the crash happened after a Land Rover, being driven by Gary Hart, plunged off the M62 motorway onto the East Coast main line.

Criminal proceedings

Moments later it was struck by a high-speed GNER express train which became derailed and then struck a fully-laden freight train travelling in the opposite direction.

Hart, of Strubby, Lincolnshire, was later convicted of 10 counts of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to five years in prison.

Selby victims
Steve Baldwin, N Yorkshire
Steve Dunn, N Yorkshire
Alan Ensor, N Yorkshire
Barry Needham, N Yorkshire
Ray Robson, Tyneside
Rob Shakespeare, E Yorkshire
Paul Taylor, Tyneside
Christopher Terry, N Yorkshire
Clive Vidgen, N Yorkshire
John Weddle, Tyneside

The jurors retired to consider its verdicts on Friday with Mr Hinchliff directing them to return verdicts of unlawful killing.

He said the verdicts could not contradict the earlier criminal proceedings against Hart.

Following the verdicts, Mr Hinchliff said: "When I opened the inquest in Harrogate, I stated there I would endeavour to carry out a full, fair and fearless investigation. I hope I've achieved that objective."

At a news conference following the verdict, police officers and relatives of the victims gave their reactions.

Detective chief superintendent Nick Bracken, who led the investigation on behalf of British Transport Police, said the verdicts had brought a degree of closure.

Questions answered

He said: "Quite simply, today we delivered promises made to the families involved to ensure that every aspect of the incident was looked at and checked.

"I'm satisfied that we have answered the questions. That is all we have ever sought."

Mary Dunn
If anything positive can come out of these two years, it's that every individual driver takes the responsibility to ensure they are fit to drive at all times
Mary Dunn, wife of victim
Mary Dunn, whose freight train driver husband, Steve, died in the disaster, thanked all the organisations involved in the investigation for the sensitive handling of the issues.

She said: "If anything positive can come out of these two years, it's that every individual driver takes the responsibility to ensure they are fit to drive at all times and then accept responsibility should something happen.

"We are now completely confident we know the truth. It's never going to go away but hopefully, it will make it a bit more manageable."

The inquest heard evidence from police officers, rail safety experts and Andrew Hill, the surviving freight train driver.

He told the inquest the distinctive blue livery of the GNER express train filled his cab window as he supervised the other driver Mr Dunn on a "route learning" journey from Immingham to Ferrybridge power station.

Crumpled wreck

He told the jury he called out his colleague's name and reached out and touched his hand.

Mr Hill was later rescued from the crumpled wreck of his cab with minor injuries.

In December 2001 a jury at Leeds Crown Court decided that Hart had fallen asleep at the wheel of his Land Rover before it plunged off the M62 motorway and on to the main east coast railway line.

The prosecution said Hart fell asleep at the wheel after spending the night on the phone to a woman he "met" eight days before through the internet.

The BBC's Catherine Marston
"The cause of the accident was tiredness"

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08 Sep 03  |  North Yorkshire

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