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'We are going to have to accept that this was an awful, tragic accident'

School's chief executive comments on inquest findings

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

School staff killed in M4 crash

The chief executive of Prior's Court School has said that the school is going to have to accept that "an awful, tragic accident" claimed the lives of three staff members. 

Mike Robinson was speaking after the conclusion of an inquest into a crash that killed staff members Lorraine MacLellan, Jason Aleixo, and Catherine Gardiner. 

Although the coroner's conclusion was that the three died in a road traffic collision, questions remain as to what caused the minibus to suddenly stop on the eastbound carriageway of the M4 between Hungerford and Chieveley a year ago today (Friday). 

The school in Hermitage will be holding a minutes' silence to remember the tragic crash that claimed three lives and affected five more people in the bus.

Concluding the inquest as road traffic collision senior coroner for Berkshire, Heidi Connor, said: "The reason remains unclear after a detailed investigation, although on the balance of probability a problem with the vehicle appears to be more likely than driver input." 

Following the inquest the chief executive of Prior's Court Mike Robinson said: “It would have undoubtedly helped all of us affected by the accident to have reached a conclusive answer to the question - why did this happen?

"The very thorough police investigation was able to rule out a number of possible causes, but did not reach a definitive answer. It feels like we are going to have to accept that this was an awful, tragic accident, where we are just not going to be able to answer all the questions we have about it."

"While we at Prior’s Court lost three much loved colleagues, their losses will be felt even more greatly by their families and our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.

"As we’ve said before – life at Prior’s Court will never be quite the same after being touched by such a tragedy. However, the strength and resilience shown by our staff has been remarkable, and time and again they’ve shown their dedication to supporting our young people.  We will mark the one year anniversary with a minute’s silence at midday, and give everyone the time to remember their colleagues.

"Our focus now remains on supporting those directly affected, and we will honour the memory of Cathy, Jason and Lorraine by continuing the amazing work they did at Prior’s Court.”

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