Date set for Alton Towers Smiler crash sentencing

The Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers

Alton Towers operator Merlin Entertainments will be sentenced in September for last year’s Smiler accident, which injured 16 people.

A two-day hearing beginning at 1000 on 26 September will be held at Stafford Crown Court, where the most seriously-injured victims of the accident are expected to attend.

Five people were seriously injured when two trains on the Smiler rollercoaster collided on 2 June last year.

Judge Chambers said although there were some differences between Merlin and the prosecuting Health and Safety Executive (HSE), “the thrust of the prosecution case appears to be accepted by the defence”.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd has admitted charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, and has said that its own internal investigation had concluded that “human error” was the cause of the crash.

HSE prosecutor Bernard Thorogood said the prosecution were still awaiting medical evidence in relation to the victims, which is dependent on private civil legal action for damages that they are pursuing against Merlin.