Wimbledon school crash: Families of two eight-year-old girls killed criticise decision to not charge driver

The grieving parents of two eight-year-old girls who were killed when a car crashed into a school have criticised the decision not to charge the driver.

Nuria Sajjad and Selena Lau died after a Land Rover smashed through a fence and hit a building at The Study Prep school in Wimbledon, southwest London.

The school had been hosting an end-of-term party at the time.

More than a dozen people were injured in the crash, which happened on the morning of 6 July last year.

A 46-year-old woman, later named as Claire Freemantle, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

However, on Wednesday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced it would not be pursuing charges against Ms Freemantle because she had suffered an epileptic seizure behind the wheel and could not "have done anything to predict or prevent this tragedy".

The parents of the two young girls said the decision had denied them "justice".

In a statement on Wednesday, Ms Freemantle said she had no recollection of what happened and expressed her "deepest sorrow for the families".

Children 'deserved better'

Nuria's parents Sajjad Butt and Smera Chohan, and Selena's parents Franky Lau and Jessie Deng, criticised the CPS and the "poor" investigation into the deaths of their children.

In a joint statement, they said: "We remain unconvinced that the investigation has been conducted thoroughly.

"We remain unconvinced that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have reached a decision based on all the facts. Justice has neither been done, nor has been seen to be done today.

"Nuria and Selena deserved better."

They added: "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."

The CPS said its decision was based on material gathered by the Metropolitan Police during its investigation.

The force said: "Significant enquiries 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".

Detective chief superintendent Clair Kelland added: "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 circumstances, this was simply not borne out on this occasion."

'Not in public interest'

The CPS said: "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.

"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."

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'Horrendous moments'

Ms Freemantle expressed her "deepest sorrow" over the deaths and said she had "no recollection of what took place" after losing consciousness.

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

"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."

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