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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 16:44 GMT
Bus death woman 'unlawfully killed'
Robert Harvey
Driver Robert Harvey was told he had driven 'dangerously'
A coroner says an elderly woman who died after being dragged under a bus, was unlawfully killed.

Jenny Spedding, 86, was dragged half-a-mile through Durham city centre by the Arriva bus, in the incident on 24 February 2003, and later died from multiple injuries.

The inquest into the death of Jenny Spedding had previously been adjourned by North Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle to allow him to make representations to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Bus driver, Robert Harvey, 61, of Langley Park, County Durham, attended the inquest and answered personal questions, but said he had been advised by his solicitor not to answer any questions about the incident which could prove incriminatory.

Mrs Spedding was thrown clear at a set of traffic lights, but the bus continued on its journey and it was miles away when it was finally stopped and the driver told what had happened.

Mr Tweddle held a full inquest during which witnesses recounted how the pensioner was seen crossing the road as the single-decker bus edged its way out of a depot in Durham City.

On the evidence I have seen I must conclude that this driving was dangerous within the statutory definition
North Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle

Witness Gordon Godona, who was parked near the scene, told the inquest how Mrs Spedding had actually put her hands on the front of the slow moving bus and had almost crossed in front of it when it appeared to speed up and drag her underneath.

He said: "When it accelerated, that's when she fell. She fell to the side and under the bus, she went under sideways.

"I saw the lady under the bus as it accelerated past me."

The inquest heard Mrs Spedding, of Local Avenue, Sherburn Hill, Durham City, died from multiple injuries and extensive internal haemorrhaging after being dragged along by the Arriva bus.

CCTV footage of the incident was broken down into still pictures charting what had happened over a 15-second period, when the bus first came into sight from being seen driving off after the incident.

'Momentary lapse'

Mr Tweddle said: "The most telling evidence in this case comes from CCTV footage.

"This was not a momentary lapse of concentration on the part of the driver, an experienced driver.

"I accept that it's apparent from photos that the driver exited the bus station slowly, but I take the view he was possibly concentrating too much on other people.

"On the evidence I have seen I must conclude that this driving was dangerous within the statutory definition."

Mrs Spedding's relatives and their solicitor left the hearing without commenting.

A spokesman for Durham Police said after the inquest: "A full report from the coroner outlining his reasons for today's decision will be sent to the CPS for their consideration.

DNA tests on bus death woman
25 Feb 03  |  England

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