p06lkp6h - Death crash Midland Red South bus company fined £2.3m
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Death crash Midland Red South bus company fined £2.3m

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Media captionThe bus ploughed into a Coventry branch of Sainsbury’s in October 2015

A bus company that ignored warnings about a driver who crashed into a supermarket, killing two people, has been fined £2.3m.

Midland Red (South) Ltd admitted breaching health and safety standards when Kailash Chander, 80, accelerated into a Sainsbury’s in Coventry in 2015.

Chander, from Leamington Spa, was found to have been driving dangerously at a fact finding trial in September.

He could not be found guilty as he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.

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West Midlands Police

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Kailash Chander’s dementia diagnosis meant he was deemed unfit to plea or stand trial

The bus company, which is part of the Stagecoach group, was sentenced alongside Chander, who was diagnosed with dementia after the crash, at a two-day hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

Chander was subjected to a two-year supervision order, meaning he will be monitored by a doctor.

Seven-year-old Rowan Fitzgerald was riding on the top deck and died of a head injury when the bus crashed on Trinity Street on 3 October 2015.

Chander had mistaken the accelerator for the brake.

Rowan’s mother, Natasha Wilson, said he “had a heart of gold – he was our sunshine on hard days”.

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West Midlands Police

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Rowan Fitzgerald attended St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Leamington Spa

Pedestrian Dora Hancox, 76, died after being struck by the bus and a falling lamppost.

Her daughter Katrina said she felt “cheated as I never got to say goodbye to her”.

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West Midlands Police

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Dora Hancox, from Nuneaton, was struck by the bus and a falling lamppost

The bus company admitted failings, including allowing Chander to work in excess of 70-hours a week and allowing him to continue working despite warnings about his driving.

A trial of facts in September found Chander had been warned about his “erratic” driving by the company after four crashes in three years.

1543319074 208 Death crash Midland Red South bus company fined £2.3m - Death crash Midland Red South bus company fined £2.3m

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Media captionCCTV captures Coventry bus crash which killed two people

Chander’s barrister Robert Smith told the court the former Leamington Spa mayor was “traumatised” by the crash and now requires full-time care.

An expert told the court he may have been suffering from undiagnosed dementia at the time of the crash.

Midland Red (South) Ltd said it has made “more than a dozen changes” to its policies since the crash.

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