Katelyn Dawson inquest: Teenage girl, 15, was killed by car at Yorkshire bus stop after driver 'fainted at the wheel'

A 15-year-old girl waiting for her school bus was killed by a car that was seen ‘drifting’ across lanes before it struck her, an inquest heard today.

Katelyn Dawson was among a group of people waiting at the bus stop on Wakefield Road in Moldgreen, Huddersfield, when the BMW collided with them in January 2018.

A teenage girl and a woman in her 40s were also seriously injured, but talented dancer Kaitlyn, from Dalton, died the same day in Leeds General Infirmary.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court resumed today, six years after Katelyn’s death, following a lengthy police investigation and a case review which concluded that the driver of the BMW had fainted at the wheel.

Katelyn Dawson with her parents Colin and AngelaKatelyn Dawson with her parents Colin and Angela
Katelyn Dawson with her parents Colin and Angela

As a consequence, quantity surveyor Richard Brooke, 57, of Fenay Bridge, was never charged in relation to the collision and will give evidence to the hearing as a witness via video link.

The court heard from a driver who was travelling behind Mr Brooke’s car, which she said appeared to be driven normally before it suddenly began drifting between the two lanes of the carriageway.

The witness, Alison Ross, stopped at a set of traffic lights which were on red, but saw the BMW ‘shoot straight through’ before colliding with the bus shelter near the Ivy Green pub.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said the car appeared to speed up, and CCTV was played to the court which showed the vehicle swerving from the right-hand lane into the left before leaving the road.

Mrs Ross said she did not see the car braking or steering, but did not believe it had struck the central reservation at any point.

A driver who was waiting ahead of Mr Brooke at the traffic lights said she heard the BMW ‘revving’ behind her before it ‘shot off’. Anne Blackburn, who was commuting to the school where she worked, said she also witnessed Brooke moving between lanes, and initially believed he was trying to avoid other cars. He was stationary behind her at the lights just moments before the collision.

Mrs Blackburn stopped her car after the impact parallel to her, and saw Mr Brooke trying to get out of the BMW before he was pushed back inside by a van driver who had also been passing. She said he appeared ‘normal’ and was able to stand.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The CPS ruled that Mr Brooke had likely lost consciousness within seconds of fainting due to a respiratory tract infection, and a number of medical experts are due to give evidence later in the hearing.

The CPS review deemed that he would be able to use the defence of having suffered a medical episode, meaning there was no realistic prospect of conviction.

Shelley College pupil Katelyn’s parents, school caretaker Colin and teaching assistant Angela Dawson, attended the inquest, having already appealed the CPS’s decision not to proceed with criminal charges against Mr Brooke.

They have expressed their dissatisfaction with the West Yorkshire Police investigation and also hired a private investigator to conduct their own enquiries.

The inquest, set to last eight days, continues.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.