Head of Roads Policing
Operational Policing Command
Essex CM3 3BG
May 1st 2020
Dear Mr Pipe
M25 Fatal Road Traffic Collision – March 19th 2018
Thank you for your letter, dated April 23rd 2020 (200423 Essex police), in which you advise me of the Essex Coroner’s decision not to resume the inquest into the deaths of Sevim Ustun and Ayse Ustan for the two reasons stated in your letter.
The direction received from the Coroner includes the sentence: I do not find there is sufficient reason to resume an inquest.
The Coroner’s use of the word resume is confusing as it would suggest the inquest has been paused or adjourned but, as he finds no sufficient reason to resume the inquest, I assume it is concluded with a verdict of misadventure or accidental death?
However, regardless of the decision of the Essex Coroner, could I respectfully draw your attention to my letter to the Chief Constable, dated February 29th, in which I asked if he would consider recommending to the Crown Prosecution Service Highways England be prosecuted for Corporate Manslaughter in respect of the two deaths on the M25 Smart Motorway near Junction 26 on March 19th 2018.
I base my request on the Trial Judge’s unambiguous statement, ‘This accident would not have happened had there have been a hard shoulder’.
There is incontrovertible evidence Highways England knew the removal of emergency hard shoulders from conventional motorways would result in deaths involving static vehicles on Smart Motorways, thereby breaching their Duty of Care to users of the motorways making the organisation liable in respect of those deaths.
I hope you agree this very serious allegation should be tested in a court of law and such a test is in the public interest.
Thank you for including the link and, you are correct, I am very much aware of the ‘Stocktaking’ or Review of the Smart Motorway Policy ordered by The Rt Hon Grant Shapps, MP, Secretary of State for Transport, following his serious concerns about the number of people being killed on Smart Motorways.
Highways England carried out a review of Highways England Smart Motorway Policy. The subsequent Report, compiled by Highways England for the Secretary of State, fully supported Highways England’s Smart Motorway Policy.
It was, of course, inconceivable Highways England would criticise its own policy which would amount to an admission the policy is seriously flawed.
This adds weight to my assertion only a prosecution of Highways England will satisfy the public who share Mr Shapp’s deep concern about the number of fatalities on Smart Motorways.
Thank you again for your time, Mr Pipe.
cc Sir Charles Walker KBE MP Broxbourne Constituency