Alton Towers owner back in court over Smiler crash


Alton Towers operator Merlin is due back in court today over the Smiler rollercoaster crash which left two teenagers needing leg amputations and several other victims with serious injuries.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd has been warned to expect a "very large fine" for health and safety breaches which led to a carriage on the £18 million ride smashing into an empty car.

Several of those left trapped on the ride after the crash in June last year will attend a two-day sentencing hearing at Stafford Crown Court.

A court hearing in April this year was told Merlin had conducted an internal investigation following the incident, which established that a worker manually "overrode" the ride's governing computer system.

Indicating a guilty plea to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, Merlin's barrister told the previous hearing that the company accepted additional measures could have been taken to guard against safety risks.

Lawyers for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have said the 1.1-kilometre Smiler, which opened in 2013, never had "a proper settled system" for staff to follow when carriages stopped on-track.