Birmingham & Black Country

Woman, 37, died 'after bus fall in Birmingham'

A 37-year-old bus passenger died a month after falling when the vehicle braked sharply to avoid a car, an inquest has heard.

Julie Layton suffered a broken neck and was paralysed in the incident in Birmingham in June 2010.

Her family said the Crown Prosecution Service should give consideration to prosecution of the bus driver, after a narrative verdict was recorded.

Prosecutors had decided to take no action against either driver.

With three children

Riaz Ahmed, a 30-year-old driver with 12 years' experience at West Midlands Travel, told police he had performed an emergency stop and had not seen any lights at the rear of the car in front of the bus.

But police inquiries established the lights on the car, being driven by a 73-year-old local woman, were on and that its brake lights were also in order.

Ms Layton, of Weoley Castle, died in hospital of multiple organ failure in July 2010.

Ms Layton, who was left unable to move from the chest down, was with her three children, then aged between 15 and 11, at the time of the fall, the city's coroner's court heard.

Emma Walker, who was with her when she boarded the double-decker bus in Yardley Wood, told the inquest the victim appeared to have both hands free when she fell.

'Wonderful mum'

A file on the accident was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, but prosecutors decided to take no action against either driver.

A statement read after the inquest on behalf of Ms Layton's family said, having heard the evidence, they "believe the Crown Prosecution Service should give consideration to criminal prosecution of the bus driver".

The statement, read by Richard Langton, Senior Litigation and Managing Partner at law firm Russell Jones & Walker, said: "They also believe that bus drivers should be trained to ensure that passengers are always holding on or seated before moving off.

"Julie was a wonderful mum, who loved her kids and was a friend to everyone who knew her."

In a police interview read to the inquest, Mr Ahmed said he had braked to avoid a car which had overtaken his vehicle and then stopped in front of him.

Coroner Aidan Cotter said Mr Ahmed, who was present at the inquest, had given an account of the accident to police and should not be criticised for opting not to give evidence at the inquest.

He recorded a narrative verdict that Ms Layton died as a result of a road traffic accident.

Mr Cotter said it was clear that the jolt of the emergency stop had caused her to fall.

Bus operator National Express, which took over West Midlands Travel, said its thoughts were "with Ms Layton's family during this difficult time".

It said: "We fully respect the decision given as a result of today's hearing.

"Safety is our number one priority. One million journeys are made every day on our buses across the West Midlands and this is a very tragic, but rare incident."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites