FOLLOWING the nightmarish roller-coaster crash at Alton Towers, the owner has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety rules and now faces a very large fine.
Five victims, who have all suffered with life-changing injuries after the accident in June 2015, attended court to hear the proceedings against Merlin Attractions Ltd, where they admitted a guilty plea in relation to the breaching of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
During the case, details of the crash on the famous Smiler ride were revealed, where two girls had their legs amputated as a result, and three others suffered life-changing injuries.
Health and Safety Executive, Bernard Thorogood, said that operatives had overridden the computer´s controlling system, and also failed to spot a stationary train on the track, sending another one crashing into it.
Simon Antrobus, defending Merlin said: “The Company is accepting additional reasonable and practicable measures could have been taken to guard against the safety risk that arose on the day.”
The district judge commented that Merlin would most likely be looking at a very large fine, and the case was moved to the Crown Court due to the severity.
The lawyer representing the victims said of the guilty plea that it was “a milestone along the way to psychological rehabilitation.”
He continued: “Given that such serious injuries could be sustained on a fun day out, it is hardly surprising that a criminal offence was committed.
“However, it is comforting for the families that a plea of guilty has been entered, rather than the victims having to endure a drawn out trial.
“Today is not seen as a victory; the families are not motivated by retribution. Regrettably the physical recovery will be a lifelong process.”
Nine months after the accident The Smiler ride, at Alton Towers, has now been re-opened.