Croydon tram crash: Victim Mark Smith an 'amazing father'

Indre Novikovaite, Mark Smith and their son Image copyright BTP
Image caption Indre Novikovaite described Mark Smith as "the best thing that happened to her"

The fiancée of one of the Croydon tram crash victims said he was an "amazing father" and she "would give up everything to hold and kiss him again".

Mark Smith, 35, was described by his family as a devoted father to his 18-month old son and a "loving, caring, kind, loyal and popular young man".

Six men and a woman died and 50 people were injured in the crash on Wednesday.

Trams are being run on the track to test the corner where the derailment happened prior to services resuming.

Transport for London (TfL) has not confirmed when the line will be fully operational again.

Image caption Trams are being used to test the section of track where the derailment occurred

The driver of the tram, Alfred Dorris, 42, from Beckenham, south-east London, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. He has been released on bail until May.

The tram has been removed from the site and taken away to be checked by investigators.

London Minister and Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell told Parliament: "We shouldn't speculate on the causes of the accident.

"We have three investigations under way and it's very important that we give the professionals the time to do their work thoroughly because the victims of this terrible tragedy deserve the whole truth and that won't be served by too much speculation at this stage."

Chris Philp, Tory MP for Croydon South, said the installation of automated braking systems for trams would be "very reassuring" for tram users.

However, Mr Barwell said the fact trams operate on both rail and road means "they have to rely at least for part of their route on drivers driving according to the conditions in front of them".

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Mark Smith (left) was killed in the crash with (l-r) Dane Chinnery, Phil Seary, Dorota Rynkiewicz

Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Logan, 52, Phil Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, and Robert Huxley, 63, who all lived in New Addington and Donald Collett, 62, from Croydon also died in the crash.

Officials have said the Wimbledon-bound tram was travelling at a "significantly higher speed than is permitted" as it entered a tight bend before flipping on to its side and sliding.

Mr Smith, a glazier from Croydon, south London, was on his way to work when the tram derailed.

"Mark was my lover, my best friend, my everything. He was, and still is, an amazing dad to our little boy," said his partner Indre Novikovaite.

"We love you to the moon and back, you are the best thing that happened in our lives."

'Touched many lives'

In a statement, Mr Smith's family said: "A star that shines twice as bright only shines for half its life, that was our Mark, a son we were very proud of."

They added: "He touched many lives through the passage of his too-short life. His loss has devastated us all."

Image copyright British Transport Police
Image caption Tributes have been paid to Philip Logan (left), Donald Collett (centre) and Robert Huxley (right), who also died in the crash
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Crystal Palace FC left tributes near to the crash site - some of the victims were fans

On Sunday, Mr Huxley's family described him as "larger than life" and a "loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, brother, uncle and dear friend to many".

He was a lifelong Chelsea supporter and a season ticket holder.

Mr Collett's family said they were "struggling to deal with this tragic news".

"Don was a well loved, funny and generous man, who could light up a room with his smile. He is tragically leaving behind a loving family, partner, adored friends and work colleagues," they said in a statement.

The family of Mr Logan said he would be "immensely missed by all that knew him".

"He was a true family man and generous friend to all with a magnificently dry sense of humour," they said.

Image caption The congregation at Croydon Minster observed a minute's silence on Sunday

On Remembrance Sunday, the victims' names were read out in the town's annual commemoration service.

A crowdfunding website set up by Croydon Council in the wake of the derailment has so far raised more than £12,000 to help the families of the victims.

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