M53 bus crash: Driver of school bus in fatal Wirral crash died of natural causes as cause of death revealed

The driver of a school bus which crashed on the M53 in Wirral last year died of natural causes
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The driver of a school bus which crashed on the M53 in Wirral died of natural causes, a coroner has said. Stephen Shrimpton, 40, died when the coach crashed on the northbound carriageway on September 29 as he was taking children to West Kirby and Calday Grange grammar schools. The crash also killed a 15-year-old student, Jessica Baker.

In an inquest that took place on October 5, it was heard that Mr Shrimpton suffered an “event” at the wheel before the crash. It also heard Jessica died after she was partially ejected from her school bus which landed on her after the vehicle overturned on the motorway.

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Andre Rebello, senior coroner for Liverpool and the Wirral, had told the inquest CCTV footage from inside the coach showed Mr Shrimpton slump to his left while driving the coach, which at the same time left the carriageway and went up an embankment before ending up on its side.

At the time, the coroner said further medical examinations would be needed to establish Mr Shrimpton’s cause of death, with focus on the examination of the condition of his heart.

Jessica, from Chester, was a passenger along with around 50 other youngsters on the bus taking her to West Kirby Grammar School where she was a Year 11 pupil.

On Friday, a spokesperson for Liverpool Coroner’s Office said Mr Shrimpton’s case had been closed as it was found to be a natural cause of death. No more details on his cause of death were released.

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In a statement released after the crash, Mr Shrimpton’s family said: “Stephen was a loving husband and father to his wife and his wonderful children, a caring and thoughtful man who would always prioritise others over himself.”

After the crash, four other children were taken to hospital, including a 14-year-old boy whose injuries are said to be “life-changing”, according to Merseyside Police. Others were handled at an emergency training centre, with 13 treated for minor injuries before they were released.

An inquest for Jessica will be held at a later date, with a review hearing scheduled for July, the coroner’s office spokesperson said. Jessica’s family paid tribute to the talented climber, who they described as a “warm-hearted, wonderful daughter, granddaughter and niece, devoted sister and loyal friend”.

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