Date set for Alton Towers sentencing over Smiler crash

The Smiler Ride Credit: PA

Alton Towers operator Merlin will be sentenced later this year in connection with the Smiler roller coaster crash which left five people seriously injured, it was confirmed today.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd has already admitted a breach of health and safety rules over the incident in June last year, which left two young women needing leg amputations when their carriage hit another stationary car.

During a half-hour hearing at Stafford Crown Court today a date was set for the sentencing. The company is expected to receive a substantial fine.

The two day hearing will begin on Monday September 26, also at Stafford Crown Court.

Prosecutors told the judge the victims of the crash and their relatives are expected to attend the next hearing and asked if provisions could be made to accommodate them.

During a previous court hearing in April, victims Vicky Balch and Leah Washington, who each lost a leg in the crash, as well as Joe Pugh, Daniel Thorpe and Chandaben Chauhan attended.

Merlin has already accepted responsibility for the crash after an investigation found a computer block stopping the ride because of the stationary car on the track was over-ridden by staff, causing the collision.