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Durham Mother: My Son’s Inquest Proves Dangerous Crossing Should be Closed

Accidental Death Verdict Recorded


The Durham mother of a schoolboy killed whilst crossing a main road near his home believes an inquest into his death has provided all the evidence authorities should need to close down the crossing on which he died.

Thirteen-year-old Brandon, from Gilesgate, was hit by a car while crossing the eastbound stretch of the dual carriageway with friends on the evening of March 21st 2011, between the Gilesgate roundabout and the Belmont turn-off slip road.

The inquest into Brandon’s death took place today, Thursday, 18th August, at Chester-le-Street Magistrate’s Court at which the Coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Now Brandon’s mum, Madeline Walker, said she hopes the inquest verdict will help draw attention to the need to improve safety levels at the crossing on which Brandon was killed.

She has turned to Helen Thomson, solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, for help during the build-up to the inquest and to investigate the possibility of a civil claim.

She said: “Durham County Council is now holding a public consultation into the safety of the crossing, and we still need as many people as possible to respond. However, I firmly believe that what came out at the inquest proves beyond any doubt that what’s best all round is that the crossing be closed down.

“Brandon was a kind, considerate young lad – even since he died we have been told of ways in which he helped people within the community, things I didn’t know about but that he just got on with quietly. If anything is to come from his death, I want it to be that the crossing is closed and that nobody else should suffer like we have done.”

She said she hoped the driver of the car involved in the collision would be able to move on with his life.

“I desperately hope that the young man who was driving the car can move on from what happened and rebuild his own life. I suspect this inquest was, in many ways, as difficult for him as it was for my family – we have lost Brandon and it is heartbreaking, but we don’t want anybody else to suffer unnecessarily,” she added.

Helen Thomson, solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing the family at the inquest, said: “We feel there are strong safety issues with the crossing in question and fully support the launch of a public consultation. Unfortunately, it has taken a fatality to prompt this action, but now we have to hope the issues are addressed as quickly and effectively as possible.

“We are investigating the possibility of a civil claim on behalf of Brandon’s family – we will be working closely with Madeline now to work out the best direction to take following today’s inquest.”