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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Selby insurer's compensation claim
Selby crash scene
Four rail workers and six passengers died in the crash
An insurance company has launched a High Court bid to recover some of the 22m it has already paid out in compensation to victims of the Selby rail crash.

Fortis Insurance provided cover for Gary Hart - the man who was found guilty of causing the deaths of ten people in the February 2001 tragedy.

But the company is taking action against the Highways Agency claiming it was partly responsible for the accident and should therefore share the costs.

The company believes that crash barriers on the M62 motorway bridge over the East Coast main line were not sufficient to prevent an accident.

In a statement a company spokeswoman said: "Fortis Insurance believes that this catastrophic rail accident would not have occurred if the Highways Agency had discharged its duty to assess the appropriate safety measures.

Gary Hart
Gary Hart was jailed for five years
"The safety fence should have been longer. Had this been the case, this rail accident would never have happened."

Fortis has settled 47 of the claims arising from the accident with another 47 still remaining.

It has already paid out more than 22m to the victims and their families and expects the total amount to rise by a further 12m.

The spokeswoman added that the result of the court case would have no effect on individual claims over the crash.

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: "We are not able to comment on the hearing currently taking place in the High Court.

"The matter is now for determination through the Court procedures."

Dangerous driving

Hart, of Strubby, Lincolnshire, was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty in December 2001 of ten counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

He was driving his Land Rover when it plunged off the M62 motorway onto the railway line near Great Heck, North Yorkshire.

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.

Four train staff and six passengers were killed with a further 76 people injured.

The case is due to last until 17 October.

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12 Sep 03  |  North Yorkshire
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03 Aug 03  |  England
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20 Jul 03  |  North Yorkshire

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