Pregnant Rotherham driver’s crash tragedy

Kay Stanley.who died in Australia, originally from South Yorkshire
Kay Stanley.who died in Australia, originally from South Yorkshire
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A pregnant teacher from South Yorkshire who was about to get married was killed when her car was struck by a train at a level crossing in Australia.

Former actress Kay Stanley, aged 32, from Rotherham, died after her VW Beetle was hit by a train and pushed 170m along the tracks before being crushed against a station platform near Melbourne.

Kay, who was 10 weeks’ pregnant after undergoing IVF treatment with her finace Brett Vogel, moved to Australia in 2004.

The former actress - who toured Australia with the Tweenies - was a kindergarten teacher and was on her way to meet the school’s head at the time of the smash.

At the opening of her Sheffield inquest witnesses described hearing a ‘loud bang’ before the train appeared to ‘pick up’ the vehicle and push it along the tracks.

In a statement, driver Paul Sexton said he saw the car ‘wobble for a moment’ on the opposite side of the crossing in the town of Tyabb, a suburb of Melbourne.

“It continued straight on very slowly, about 10km an hour, as if she was rolling into neutral. I was expecting her to stop but it didn’t.

“Just before the VW went over the crossing I saw it turn but it was too late.”

The former Kimberworth School pupil, who later attended Rotherham College of Art and Technology, was killed on January 28, 2008.

Mr Vogel’s statement was also read to the court.

He said the couple were “just so happy” after finding out their IVF had worked.

They were saving news of the pregnancy until Kay’s mother Gwen Bates, from Greasbrough, Rotherham, flew over for their wedding eight weeks later in March.

Mr Vogel said Kay was a ‘very cautious driver’ who always stopped at level crossings adding: “The only explanation I can think of is the sun being behind the lights.”

The inquest heard the level crossing did not have boom barriers in place at the time but they were installed two weeks later.

One of the train’s two drivers said trees partially blocked the view of the crossing and waiting drivers couldn’t see the track because of a fence.

Both drivers said the level crossing warning system was working and the train’s whistle was sounded twice before the impact.

An investigator for rail operator Connex said: “Indications are that the driver of the VW failed to respond.”

But a report created for an Australian inquest by expert John Lambert said Kay had slowed down at the crossing.

His report claimed a data log showed the train had been travelling at 85kph on an 80kph stretch of track earlier in its journey and that the train’s whistle was first sounded ‘ten seconds later’ than it should have been.

A contrasting expert report said the Lambert report used a ‘crude calculation’ method and parts were ‘not accurate’.

Ms Bates said she “just wanted the truth” about her daughter’s death.

The inquest continues.