Family ‘shattered’ by Sunderland bus accident which killed their ‘wonderful, happy boy’

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A FAMILY “shattered” by the death of schoolboy Matthew Hayes have spoken of their heartbreak as an inquest heard how the 12-year-old died after running into the path of a bus.

Matthew Hayes was killed after he was hit by the single decker bus on Ryhope Road, Sunderland, on Friday, November 22, last year.

The Venerable Bede CE Academy pupil had been walking home from school with a friend when he ran out into the busy road.

Despite the best efforts of medics and passers-by who fought desperately to try to save him, the youngster died at the scene.

Yesterday, following an inquest into his death, Matthew’s family spoke of their tragic loss.

In a statement, they said: “We would like to pay tribute to our son, he was a wonderful, happy boy who was always smiling.

“The whole family have found it hard to comprehend the devastating loss we have suffered. He will be sorely missed.

“This was a tragic accident, the bus driver has done nothing wrong. We will never forget Matthew and we now have the job of rebuilding our shattered lives.”

The family, of Moorside, Sunderland, went on to thank Matthew’s school, police, friends, family and all those who have supported them since the tragedy.

They also paid tribute to those who had stopped to try to help their son in the minutes following the accidents.

The family added: “The medical people at the scene, some not on duty, and the hospital staff who offered assistance to Matthew did all they could.”

The inquest yesterday heard how suddenly, and without warning, Matthew ran out into the path of the bus.

Karin Welsh, Sunderland’s assistant coroner, said: “The bus driver had no chance to avoid the collision, it simply happened too quickly.”

The city’s coroner’s court heard how Matthew had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2007 which left him with difficulties when it came to “road sense and distance perception”.

While Ms Welsh acknowledged the condition left Matthew “at greater risk of accident”, she stressed that it “may or may not have been a factor.”

She added: “There is no blame whatsoever to be attached to the bus driver. There is no evidence to suggest the bus was being driven in anything other than an exemplary manner.”

Pc Gary Morris, from Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols division, told the inquest that CCTV had been examined from the street and witness statements taken from passengers on the bus at the time.

He added that there was no mechanical fault with the vehicle and that Matthew had shown no warning that he was about to run out into the road.

Concluding the schoolboy had died “as the result of an accident”, Ms Welsh commended the family for their “dignity”, adding: “I can’t begin to imagine what you have all gone through.”

Hundreds of schoolfriends had packed St Matthew’s Church, Silksworth Road, for the youngster’s funeral last December.

Headteacher of Venerable Bede, Gill Booth, said that Matthew was a “bright light in the academy”.

The Rev David Tolhurst, who led the service, said: “I have spoken to many people about Matthew and two things stand out – his smile and his humour.”