Lights changed too fast say parents of tragic Yesmine
The parents of a 10-year-old who died at a pedestrian crossing claim the green man lights were faulty, leaving the girl and her mother stranded in the road in oncoming traffic.
Bedwell Primary School pupil Yesmine Moumen died instantly in a collision with a Mercedes as she tried to cross Monkswood Way with her mother Yvonne on their way to buy Christmas presents on a wet afternoon in December 2010.
The driver of the car, Kevin Ruder, 45, of Keller Close, Stevenage, who was travelling with his son, was cleared by a jury at Cambridge Crown Court last month of causing death by careless driving.
Mrs Moumen, 41, said her daughter pressed the button and they waited at the crossing by ASDA even though there was no traffic coming, and only began to cross when the green man came on. They were carrying large bags and an umbrella.
“The very last thing I asked her to do was to press for the green light.
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“I saw the green man on there and I picked up the bags, brolly, and reached back to get Yesmine.”
Mrs Moumen said she froze in the road when she saw the car and then leapt back pulling her daughter by the hand as it grazed past her knees. But Yesmine was wrenched from her mother and thrown into the air by the impact of the collision.
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“I thought it was a bag, she was thrown so high in the air. She had been thrown into the nearby lane. I went to her and she was gone. Her heart stopped right there.”
The couple said Herts County Council were made aware the crossing had “a very short green phase” at least seven years ago and a series of complaints have been made.
A spokesman at County Hall said complaints were made, but not about the amount of time given to cross the road.
“We have received reports of long wait times at the pedestrian crossing. These are due to heavy traffic flow with the signals at the junction reacting to conditions and working to clear traffic.’’
He added: “Hertfordshire Highways engineers carried out a thorough investigation of the traffic signals at Monkwood Way following this tragic accident. No faults were found.
“We extend our sympathy to the family.”
Mr and Mrs Moumen also criticised the handling of their case by the Crown Prosecution Service.
They said the CPS changed their prosecution barrister three times, including three days before the trial began, leaving the lawyer just two days to prepare.
“The liaison officer said the CPS let us down,” Yesmine’s father Toufik Moumen, 44, said.
“We had no choice. What could we do?”
Mrs Moumen added she was told on the first morning of the trial not to give evidence as was planned because it would cause her further trauma.
“I told them I was looking forward to giving evidence. I remember every single detail. But we trusted them to know what they are doing,” she said.
“We deserved a fair hearing like everyone else.”
Mr Moumen also criticised the lack of an accident reconstruction and for the trial being wrapped up too quickly.
“The barrister was paid by the hour and the police wanted him to produce a few more facts. He shortened the case because of costs. How can they put a cost on our daughter’s life?
“We feel like we have been stabbed in the heart. We feel completely let down by the system.”
? A date for an inquest into Yesmine’s death has yet to be finalised.