Grandmother Relives Horrific Moment Train Ploughed Into Car Killing Granddaughter, 4

14/08/2014 17:01 | Updated 20 May 2015

Emma Lifsey died on level crossing

A heartbroken grandmother has told of the moment a train ploughed into her car on a level crossing killing her four-year-old granddaughter.

Diane Jarrett, 67, had just collected her grandchild from pre-school but as she approached the crossing she didn't see warning lights because of bright sunshine.

Mrs Jarrett told an inquest: "I didn't see the lights or the barrier until it was too late. It was like they were invisible to me as I drove along that road."

An East Midlands train travelling to Doncaster hit the car at 60mph.

Mrs Jarrett's granddaughter Emma Lifsey died in hospital from her injuries after the train ploughed into the vehicle at the Beech Hill level crossing in Misson Springs, Doncaster, on December 4, 2012.

Mrs Jarrett suffered severe neck injuries and was treated at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. No one on the train was hurt.

Mrs Jarrett told the inquest in Nottinghamshire that she had been driving for 50 years and had travelled down the road hundreds of times.

Witness Catherine Hart, who was driving behind Mrs Jarrett at the time, told the inquest the horror crash 'looked like a bomb had exploded'.

She said: "It was very wet on the ground and very sunny.

"The sun was reflecting off the floor which made it even worse, you couldn't actually see the lights unless you dipped your head down under the visor.

"I saw the barrier was down and the lights and that's when the car in front's brake lights came on.

"I stopped my car and that's when the train came and hit the car. From what I saw I didn't think there'd be anything left. It was like a bomb had exploded."

The driver of the train, Antony Rushby, also told of his shock at the incident.

He said: "I became aware of an almighty crashing noise as I went over the crossing, I had no idea what the train had hit and I had no time to apply my brakes."

The inquest was told that the lights on the crossing were working as they should have but the sun would affect how well people could see them.

A year-long investigation was launched following the crash and a report of the findings presented to the Government ruled the road traffic signals - known as wig-wags - were well below the specified brightness.

A statement from Emma's parents Mark and Zoe Lifsey, 40 and 38, of Haxey, Lincolnshire, was read out at the inquest by her grandfather Peter Jarrett which described the 'gaping hole' the girl's death had left in their lives.

They said: "Emma meant the world to us. She was our much-loved daughter and a baby sister to her 11-year-old brother Jack.

"We are still trying to come to terms with the terrible incident on Tuesday afternoon and there are no words that can properly express how utterly distraught we are.

"We would like to thank everyone for the many messages of sympathy and support we have received.

"As you can appreciate, this tragic incident has left us shocked and devastated."

The hearing continues.


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