[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Bus driver cleared in boy death case
Luke Tanhai
Luke had been excluded from school on the day that he died
A jury has cleared a driver of causing the death of a boy who had been hanging off the outside of his bus.

Luke Tanhai, 13, died of head injuries in September 2003 after possibly falling under the wheels of the bus.

At Cardiff Crown Court, Colin Haynes, 59, of Gabalfa, Cardiff, denied causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Haynes, who was also cleared of careless driving, had driven for more than 200 metres with Luke hanging onto a rail by the doors of the bus.

Speaking after the trial, Luke's mother Hannah said the family had suffered greatly.

"Luke was a charmer, a joker, such an entertainer," she said.

"Nothing will ease the pain that we feel".

Judge Mr Justice Butterfield thanked the jury and said: "No verdict would ever reconcile Luke's family to the terrible loss they have experienced.

"We can only hope that gradually they will rebuild their lives."

Meanwhile Mr Haynes was said to have been "relieved" by the verdict.

Hannah Tanhai
Luke's mother said his life had been 'taken away in such a cruel way'

"It was a sad case. His thoughts and those of his family go out to Luke's family," said a statement from Mr Haynes' solicitor Aled Watkins.

"There'll be no celebration," the statement added.

Luke died near Cardiff High School in the Lakeside area of the city.

The court heard that Luke, who suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, had been permanently excluded from the school that day.

The court was told that Luke and two friends had apparently jumped onto a rail outside the bus as it moved away from the school.

He and the two others had not been allowed on the bus because they did not have the correct fare.

His friends jumped clear, but Luke either fell off or jumped. He later died in hospital.

The prosecution had alleged Mr Haynes must have been aware of the three boys hanging on to the bus.

But Mr Haynes, a bus driver for more than 30 years, told the jury he only found out Luke had clung to the bus 50 yards after he fell off.

Colin Haynes
Mr Haynes was 'one of nature's busmen' said a former manager

David Brown, Managing Director, Cardiff Bus, said the firm would again like to express its deepest sympathy for Luke Tanhai's family.

"We note the court's verdict and are pleased that a line has been finally drawn under this tragedy after a very difficult year for all those involved, not least Colin Haynes and his family.

Mr Brown added that the court case had raised a number of issues for transport providers and for society as a whole.

"We look forward to working with the local community, schools, local authorities, the Welsh assembly and others to find a long-term solution to the difficulties that we all face in ensuring that our children travel safely to and from school," he added.

Former director of operations at Cardiff Bus, Keith Prowse said in a statement to the court: "Colin is one of nature's busmen and has a natural aptitude for this often demanding job".

Mr Haynes nursed his wife as she battled with cancer and character witnesses told Cardiff Crown Court he was "a good dad" to his four grown-up children after her death in 1996.

In April last year, Mr Haynes's family was left grief stricken after his granddaughter Shannon was killed when she was hit by her father Nicholas's minibus as she played near her home in Ely.

The six-year-old had been playing on a skateboard on the family's driveway when she was hit by the vehicle.



News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific