Driver who crashed into school killing two girls a had seizure (2024)

Families of two girls killed when a car slammed into a school party have told of their 'disappointment' after the CPS revealed the motorist suffered an epileptic seizure behind the wheel and will face no criminal charges.

Claire Freemantle, 47, had a seizure while driving her Land Rover, sending the £80,000 4x4 ploughing through a fence and into an end-of-term celebration at The Study Prep school in Wimbledon, south-west London, on July 6 last year.

The horror crash claimed the lives of eight-year-old pupilsNuria Sajjad and Selena Lau andleft more than a dozen people injured.

Ms Freemantle, from Wimbledon, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

However, the CPS has today said she will face no further charges after revealing she had suffered an epileptic seizure behind the wheel - with Ms Freemantle expressing her 'deepest sorrow' at the tragedy, which she says she had 'no recollection' of.

But the revelation has left Nuria andSelena's grieving loved ones 'disappointed' and questioning the police investigation into the smash.

Trevor Sterling, lawyer for the families, said: 'This is disappointing; justice must not only be done, but seen to be done.

An £80,000 Land Rover crashed through the primary school's gates during an end of term picnic

Nuria Sajjad (left) had been enjoying enjoying a tea party with her classmates to mark the last day of term when horrific crash took place. The crash also killedSelena Lau (right)

'In the absence of a process, how do we interrogate the evidence? What does this message send to the public that deaths can arise in a road traffic situation, and there could be no sanction because there is no process to interrogate the evidence?

'The next focus will be on the inquest, and there will be a deep and thorough review of the evidence, which will be examined by a jury if necessary.'

The parents of girls killed in the nightmare smash saidthey 'remain unconvinced that theinvestigation has been conducted thoroughly', adding 'Nuria and Selena deserved better'.

In a joint statement, Sajjad Butt, Smera Chohan, Franky Lau and Jessie Deng - the parents of Nuria and Selena - said: 'All the victims of the events of July 6 2023 did nothing wrong. We were all in the safest place we could have been outside our own homes. We were celebrating a day filled with joy.

'Nuria and Selena's lives were taken in a moment. So many lives were also irreparably shattered in that moment. Hundreds of people - parents, teachers, children, neighbours, friends and family members - will never lead 'normal' lives again. Some of us will never experience joy again.

'We have tried to keep faith in the systems and institutions that are supposed to protect victims and deliver justice to those affected. We have been disappointed by this system. We have already expressed, publicly, our dissatisfaction with the pace of the investigative process.

'It is now clear to us that the depth of the process is questionable too. In the absence of any concrete evidence to the contrary, we can only surmise that the investigation has been equally poor.'

Nuria's mother Smera was also injured in the horrific crash that took place just after this photo of them was taken

Nuria, who would have turned nine on March 20, is pictured with her loving parentsSmera andSajjad

Selena Lau playing piano at a school concert shortly before tragedy struck last July

Selena's parents Franky and Jessie Lau (pictured) have demanded 'justice for their daughter' and told of their 'disappointment' at the move not to charge the driver responsible for the crash

Speaking out today following the tragedy, a grief-stricken Ms Freemantle expressed her 'deepest sorrow' and said she had 'no recollection of what took place' after losing consciousness because of an epileptic seizure at the wheel.

'Since I became aware of the terrible event that took place on July 6, the devastating consequences for all those affected have not left my thoughts and will be with me for the rest of my life,' she said.

'I have since been diagnosed as having suffered an epileptic seizure with loss of consciousness. This was not a pre-existing condition. As a result of losing consciousness I have no recollection of what took place.

'I can only express my deepest sorrow for the families who have suffered such dreadful loss and injury.

'As a mother, I understand there can be no words that adequately express the pain and loss resulting from what happened in those horrendous moments while I was unconscious.

'My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of the children and families affected, and especially to the parents of Nuria Sajjad and Selena Lau.'

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor with oversight of the Crown Prosecution ServiceLondonHomicide Unit, said the incident was a tragedy.

She added: 'We have carefully considered this complex and sensitive case, taking into consideration all the material gathered as part of the lengthy and detailed police investigation.

'The driver of the vehicle had an epileptic seizure behind the wheel, which caused her to lose control of the vehicle which then drove into the school. There is no evidence the driver had ever suffered a similar seizure before and she had no previously diagnosed medical condition.

The Land Rover crashed through a fence at The Study Prep school in south-west London at around 10am on July 6, 2023

'Because there is nothing to suggest the driver could have done anything to predict or prevent this tragedy, it is not in the public interest to pursue a criminal prosecution.

'In reaching this decision we have considered the driver's full medical records, obtained by police, and received evidence from neurological specialists, who agreed that the driver had a seizure and that this was the first such medical episode she had experienced.

'Throughout this process we have met with the bereaved families on several occasions, to ensure they are kept informed of the case progress and to fully explain the decision we have made.

'Our thoughts remain with them today, as well as with the other injured victims and the wider school community upon whom this tragic incident has had a profound impact.'

Metropolitan Detective Chief Superintendent Clair Kelland said that having examined her medical records, the driver could not have predicted or prevented the seizure.

She said: 'I can understand that some may be confused - perhaps even feel let down - by this outcome and want to give every reassurance that our officers worked tirelessly through every detail of the incident to ensure a complete investigation be passed to the CPS.

'To bring charges in cases like this there needs to be an element of responsibility on the part of the driver, and, given the circ*mstances, this was simply not borne out on this occasion.'

Flowers and toys placed outside The Study Prep school in Wimbledon, south-west London, after the incident

Specialist officers at the scene of the incident last July

Mark Jones, partner at Payne Hicks Beach and Claire Freemantle's solicitor, said this was 'one of the most tragic cases I have dealt with' and that 'our hearts go out to the families involved who have suffered unutterable loss and dreadful injury.

Speaking of his client, he added: 'Although she was at the wheel when this shocking accident happened, she was in no sense in control of the vehicle. This incident was through absolutely no fault of her own.

'Tragically, Claire suffered a complete loss of consciousness moments before the incident. This has now been diagnosed as epilepsy; a condition which Claire was completely unaware of before July 6 2023.

'She was unconscious when the car mounted the pavement and crashed into the school playground with such tragic consequences. Claire has no recollection of what took place.'

Mr Jones continued: 'This condition had never previously manifested itself and Claire had always enjoyed good health.'

Detective Chief Superintendent Clair Kelland continued: 'Significant inquiries carried out by specialist officers into the events leading up to the collision established that the driver suffered a previously undiagnosed seizure which caused her to lose control of the vehicle.

'Having carried out a detailed examination of her medical records, we know that she couldn't have predicted or prevented the incident.

'The consequences of this were, as we know, absolutely devastating and the hurt and pain that followed will always be deeply felt.

'I can understand that some may be confused - perhaps even feel let down - by this outcome and want to give every reassurance that our officers worked tirelessly through every detail of the incident to ensure a complete investigation be passed to the CPS.

'To bring charges in cases like this there needs to be an element of responsibility on the part of the driver, and, given the circ*mstances, this was simply not borne out on this occasion. What happened that day was a very tragic accident which has had a profound impact on the lives of a number of people.

'While our priority has been to support the affected families - including the further six families of those who received injuries - we have also remained in close contact with both the school and local council representatives throughout, updating them on the timeline of the investigation while maintaining the integrity of our inquiries.'

Driver who crashed into school killing two girls a had seizure (2024)
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