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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 15:06 GMT
Driver's shout before fatal bus crash
Stuart Cunningham-Jones
Stuart Cunningham-Jones was sitting on the top deck of the bus
An inquest into the death of a schoolboy on a bus he was going home on has heard that the driver tried to push a child away from the controls moments before it crashed.

Stuart Cunningham-Jones died and 30 children were injured when the double-decker careered off the road and hit a tree near the village of Ystradowen in the Vale of Glamorgan, in December 2002.

On Wednesday, the second day of the inquest, the jury heard transcripts of interviews with some of the children on board - one described how, moments before the crash, a boy was seen to reach over the driver to sound the horn.

He then darted forward causing the driver to move his hand again to stop him, the boy recalled, the horn sounded and the driver shouted "we're going to hit the tree".

The child was on the lower deck of the bus and said he saw the driver physically trying to push another pupil away from the cab area after he had reached over to play with the controls.

He told police that he saw the driver knock the boy's hand out of the way four or five times and that he was continuously trying to stop him.

The inquest later heard that a boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had told a police officer he had caused the crash because he had been messing around by the driver.

Bus crash at Ystradowen
The bus was carrying 72 children when it crashed

However, in a later police interview, the same boy said he could not remember exactly what he said, but that he had been "really, really scared".

On Tuesday, another 14-year-old pupil told the hearing how he was standing near the baggage rack of the bus when he saw another pupil "mess about".

He told the jury that the driver was distracted up to 10 times.

The court also heard from a motorist who had been travelling in the opposite direction who saw a boy standing directly behind the driver who seemed to be "reaching across" him.

Before witnesses began giving evidence, Coroner for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, Lawrence Addicott, told the jury of seven men and three women, that no one was "on trial" and there were no sides.

The Crown Prosecution Service has already said that no one will face criminal charges over the death.

Stuart, a pupil at Cowbridge Comprehensive School, was sitting on the top deck of the service bus when it left the road.

The vehicle fell into a field and came to rest on its side after hitting a tree.

A police investigation got under way but tests later showed that there were no mechanical faults with the bus.




SEE ALSO:
Anniversary of boy's bus death
03 Dec 03  |  Wales
Safety campaign could claim victory
21 Jun 03  |  South East Wales
No charges over fatal bus crash
12 Jun 03  |  South East Wales
School provides bus minder
31 Mar 03  |  Wales


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