Driver who crashed 4×4 into school killing two young girls to face no charges

The driver of a car that crashed into a school killing two eight-year-old girls will face no criminal charges after it was found she had suffered an epileptic seizure behind the wheel.

Nuria Sajjad and fellow eight-year-old pupil Selena Lau died after the crash at The Study Prep school in Wimbledon, south-west London, on July 6 last year.

Several others were injured when the 4×4 crashed through a fence and hit a building.

Car collides with primary school building
Nuria Sajjad, eight, who was one of two girls killed in the crash (Family handout/Metropolitan Police/PA)

In a joint statement, the girls’ families 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.”

Prosecutors found that the driver of the car, Claire Freemantle, had never had an epileptic seizure before and was in good health before the crash.

In a statement to the PA news agency she expressed her “deepest sorrow” and said she had “no recollection of what took place” after losing consciousness.

“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.”

Car collides with primary school building
Selena Lau, eight, also died in the collision (Family handout/Metropolitan Police/PA)

The school had been celebrating the last day of the summer term when the tragedy unfolded on July 6 last year.

Nuria and Selena’s families had previously expressed frustration at how long the investigation into the crash was taking, exacerbated by a lack of specialist forensic collision investigators.

The statement from Nuria’s parents Sajjad Butt and Smera Chohan and Selena’s parents Franky Lau and Jessie Deng continued: “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.”

A statement from Sharon Maher, headteacher at The Study Prep, and Helen Lowe, who was the interim headteacher when the crash happened, said the school had been “deeply affected” by the incident.

“We are trying to come to terms with the decision made by the CPS today that has resulted in no further action against the driver following the collision last July which resulted in the death of two of our talented and beautiful eight-year-old girls, Nuria and Selena,” they said.

“We are a close knit school community which has been deeply affected by this incident.

“We now have the opportunity for the school and parents to ask questions of the police over the coming days and we are hoping this will provide some clarity as to how this decision was reached.”

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 circumstances, this was simply not borne out on this occasion.”