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Russell-Cooke Cases in the News - Network Rail plead guilty to health and safety breaches

Date posted: Tuesday, 31st January 2012

Network Rail has pleaded guilty to the health and safety breaches which led to the deaths of Olivia Bazlington and Charlotte Thompson at a railway crossing in 2005. The company was prosecuted by the Office of Rail Regulation at Basildon Crown Court on 31st January.

The two girls were killed by an express train after opening an unlocked gate and crossing onto the tracks. Russell-Cooke were successful in obtaining compensation for the families in March 2011. After settlement of the case, various undisclosed documents came to light, revealing that health and safety concerns at the station had been known to Network Rail for some time before the incident. Our previous news item and original case notes give further background about the case.

As Network Rail face prosecution, another teenager has been killed in nearby Bishop's Stortford while crossing the railway tracks at a pedestrian foot crossing.  The similarities with the 2005 Elsenham accident are chilling and the incident poses serious questions as to whether lessons have truly been learnt by Network Rail. The civil cases brought by Russell-Cooke in the Elsenham Case highlighted the dangers of the Elsenham foot crossing and the Personal Injury Team will be keenly following the British Transport Police investigation into this recent incident. The team still await full disclosure of documents in relation to the civil cases.

Sentencing of Network Rail will take place at Chelmsford Crown Court on 15 March 2012.

The families in the Elsenham case were represented by Terry Lee and Daniel O'Keeffe from Russell-Cooke's Personal Injury team.

To read more about the prosecution, please see this BBC news item.

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