The death of a woman at Bedford Bus Station has led to criminal prosecutions for the bus company AND the borough council – three years after the tragic accident.
Both will appear at Luton Crown Court today (Thursday) for the start of proceedings for a trial by jury.
They are being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following the fatal accident during the bus station’s redevelopment works in February 2015.
Mrs Nicola Berridge, 53, had just got off a bus when she was killed after being knocked down by a construction truck delivering sand to the site.
An inquest in 2016 heard Mrs Berridge walked between two parked buses across a zebra crossing on the Bedford Borough Council-controlled site.
A fellow worker told the inquest he thought at first his colleague had driven over a bag of rubbish lying on the ground. “But it wasn’t,” he said.
Mrs Berridge suffered multiple injuries and died at the scene.
Coroner Tom Osborne heard how the council and its primary contractor Britannia had drawn up a system of traffic management at the start of the redevelopment.
The works involved demolishing the old bus station and building a new one.
He ruled the death accidental.
However, following lengthy investigations, the HSE has now launched court proceedings against the council and Cambus Ltd.
The representative for Cambus, a trading name for Stagecoach, is listed as Andy Campbell, director of Stagecoach Services Ltd.
Cambus faces four charges of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act between February 2013 and February 2015.
One of the charges involves failing to ensuring pedestrians and vehicles could freely circulate.
Bedford Council also faces four charges under sections of the same Health and Safety at Work Act.
The accusations include failing to ensure people in their employment were not exposed to risk, failing to make a suitable assessment of the risk to pedestrians being struck by construction vehicles, and not taking reasonable steps to ensure their contractors could work safely.
It is not yet known how long the trial will last.