The parents of a boy who suffered horrific injuries when he fell from a moving coach on the A47 at Tilney All Saints have stepped up their campaign for improved safety.
It was in April, 2014 that Seb Goold, now 11, fell from the coach on the way back from a rugby tournament but it is only now his parents Nick and Tracey, of Wansford, near Peterborough, have felt able to speak about the accident which changed his life forever.
Seb lost his right leg above the knee and suffered a severe brain injury after falling from the 20-year-old coach when a side exit door swung open.
Norfolk Police, who investigated the incident found eight faults with the coach and problems with the door from which Seb fell, including that a warning light alerting the driver that the door was open was inoperable.
But Nick, 49, and Tracey, 50, were astonished when police told them there would be no prosecution.
After finding out the driver and the owner of Hamiltons Coaches had not been interviewed, the couple complained to the force’s Professional Standards Department which has since apologised to the family after finding “aspects” of the investigation fell below standard.
The couple have now launched an e-petition to get safety regulations debated in Parliament and to see the end of personalised licence plates which can disguise the age of vehicles. They are angry that bus operators are not required to bring old coaches up to the safety standards required in new coaches.
Nick said: “We were very angry with the outcome and we feel let down by Norfolk Constabulary. That coach just shouldn’t have been on the road.”
Nick, a finance director at Compare the Market, was travelling in the coach, as was Seb’s twin brother Ben. They had enjoyed a weekend at the rugby tournament in Holt, and were on their way home.
Seb was waiting to use the toilet when the door flew open. He was sucked out backwards and went under the back wheel, crushing his right leg and puncturing an artery.
Nick rushed out of the bus to find a surgeon and a nurse travelling in cars behind had stopped to help.
Seb was rushed to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where doctors told the Goolds they couldn’t save Seb’s leg. He was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, suffering a cardiac arrest en-route, and had his leg amputated the same evening. He suffered a second cardiac arrest and spent three weeks in a coma.
When he woke up three weeks later, Seb could barely see, talk or lift his head, and had problems moving his limbs. He had to relearn how to do everything and although he has come a long way since, he is still having daily therapy and physiotherapy.
Tracey said: “It’s the seriousness of this accident that makes it so fundamentally important. We would hate for another family to go through what we have, but the fact is this was an accident that was waiting to happen and we are just lucky our son is alive.”
A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “It is acknowledged the investigation fell below the expected standards and following a thorough review, a number of recommendations have been implemented.”
Insurers for Kettering firm Hamiltons Coaches have settled a civil liability claim with the Goolds.
Owner of Hamiltons Coaches, Mr Uka said: “I’m naturally distressed by the injuries suffered by Seb. The matter is in the hands of solicitors and I’m taking legal advice.”
They need 100,000 signatures for the petition to be considered for debate. It had more than 600 as the Telegraph went to press. Visit https://petition.parliament.uk.petitions/163522 to sign.