Tree inspection failure blamed for taxi crushed by tree

Transport for London (TfL) will have to pay damages to three people crushed when a diseased London plane fell on their taxi.

Healthy London plane tree - image: Flickr/EdenJanineandJim under Creative Commons Licence
Healthy London plane tree - image: Flickr/EdenJanineandJim under Creative Commons Licence

Raymond Henry, his then girlfriend Yvonne Allen and driver Amtiaz Meeloo were in the taxi in south London in May 2012, when the 20-metre-high tree fell on it.

All three were hospitalised and left with long-term injuries, and sued TfL for damages of at least £25,000 each for personal injury and losses arising from the accident.

At yesterday (15 March) Judge Alan Saggerson found TfL responsible, saying the tree was in a hazardous condition and should have been removed months before it fell, but had not been properly inspected, and ordered TfL to pay damages all three.

Simon Brindle of injury law firm Slater and Gordon, representing Henry and Allen, said TfL had failed to comply with a policy of inspecting street-side trees on "an average annual basis". The tree had last been inspected in February 2011, the two-day hearing heard.

Liability for costs and the damages will be determined at a later date.

TfL's managing director for surface transport Leon Daniels apologised for the injuries and said TfL had "worked hard to ensure lessons have been learned".

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