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Monday, 23 September, 2002, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Fainting bus driver cleared of death
Alfred Cunningham
Mr Cunningham had a history of fainting fits
A driver who fainted at the wheel of a bus which killed a women has been cleared of causing her death by dangerous driving at Newport Crown Court.

Alfred Cunningham, 56, from Ebbw Vale, had denied the charge and said he suffered from a sudden fainting illness which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) had been told about.


I am concerned that the defendant has been allowed to continue to drive by the DVLA notwithstanding his medical history and the possibility of further blacking out at the wheel

Judge Paul Lewis

Mr Cunningham was taking passengers through Newport city centre in June last year when he blacked out and lost control of the single-decker bus.

Mother-of-two Jane Humphries, 57, was hit as she stood in the doorway of the solicitors office where she worked - she died 10 days later from her injuries.

Prosecutor Eugene Egan said: "His [Mr Cunningham's] route took him down a steep hill and, had the bus been controlled properly, he would have turned around a sharp left bend.

"Tragically Mr Cunningham failed to negotiate that bend and drove straight on.

"His bus collided with Mrs Humphries who was in the doorway of her solicitors office."

Fit to drive

The jury was told that the driver had a history of fainting fits dating back more than 10 years.

But, they were told, it was a condition about which he had informed the DVLA which had then passed him as fit to drive buses.

Judge Paul Lewis said: "I am concerned that the defendant has been allowed to continue to drive by the DVLA notwithstanding his medical history and the possibility of further blacking out at the wheel.

"I would like the doctor's report to be sent to the DVLA.


This is the most disgraceful court result I've ever heard

Husband, Wayne Humphries

"Mrs Humphries was a wholly blameless pedestrian and all my sympathy goes out to her husband and her family."

After the hearing on Monday, Mrs Humphries' husband Wayne, said he was "outraged" by the verdict.

"We will not let this drop," he said outside court.

"This is the most disgraceful court result I've ever heard," he said.

"My sons have been torn apart by this. The whole family is devastated. "


More from south east Wales
See also:

20 Feb 02 | England
20 Sep 02 | Scotland
13 Sep 02 | Scotland
15 Nov 01 | England
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