Hearing on hold as mum falls ill

Gwen Bates, mother of Kay Stanley
Gwen Bates, mother of Kay Stanley
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A pregnant teacher’s Sheffield inquest was adjourned on its final day – after the sole witness was taken to hospital.

Former Rotherham resident Kay Stanley, aged 32, died when her Volkswagen Beetle was hit by a train at a level crossing in Australia.

Kay Stanley, who was killed when her car was hit by a train at a level crossing in Australia

Kay Stanley, who was killed when her car was hit by a train at a level crossing in Australia

Her mum, Gwen Bates, is the only witness at Miss Stanley’s inquest, but failed to turn up at Sheffield Coroner’s Court for the conclusion of the three-day hearing yesterday.

Julian Fox, assistant deputy coroner, said: “I had intended to sum up and make a conclusion in the case of Miss Stanley. However, this morning my officer has received information Ms Bates sadly has been taken to hospital.

“We don’t know at this stage where or why, but we are making inquiries.

“I am reluctant at this stage, without knowing more, to sum up and conclude in her absence, because she has been waiting for some time for this inquest to take place.”

The case was adjourned to a future date to be decided, after discussions with lawyers representing Australian authorities.

Mr Fox said: “I wish Ms Bates well and hope she makes a speedy recovery from whatever has resulted in her being taken to hospital.”

Former psychiatric nurse Ms Bates, of Greasborough, Rotherham, was about to move to Australia to be closer to her daughter when Kay died.

She told the inquest her belief was bride-to-be Miss Stanley had not been given ‘ample warning’ of a train approaching at the level crossing in Tyabb, a suburb of Melbourne.

The former actress – who toured with children’s TV act The Tweenies – had performed educational theatre shows about rail safety to youngsters and so was ‘more aware than most’ about the dangers of level crossings.

Ms Bates did not know about her daughter’s pregnancy until after the death in January 2008. Miss Stanley was waiting until her mum flew to Australia for the wedding to fiancé Brett Vogel to share the news in person.

The former Kimberworth Primary School pupil, who worked as a kindergarten and drama teacher, wanted her mum to be the ‘first to know’ the good news.

Mr Fox heard Ms Bates got on ‘famously’ with her daughter and had fought for two years to have her body repatriated, so she could be buried in Rotherham.