THE family of a great-grandmother killed after a bus crash in Darlington town centre have urged Arriva to accept some responsibility for the tragedy.

A statement from Eileen Brennan’s family reveals the heartbreak they have faced following the death of the much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who was affectionately known as GG.

Michael Gilbert, 52, who was driving an Arriva service 2 bus in Darlington on July 7, 2016, was today given a suspended jail sentence in Teesside Crown Court for causing death and serious injury by careless driving.

PC Alison Fawcett, a family liaison officer with Cleveland Police, read a statement on behalf of Julie Wakeford, Mrs Brennan’s daughter, outside the court.

The statement said: “We, the family, hope that Arriva will take note and make some positive changes to their driver training regime.

“It is all well and good training the drivers to a standard above the recognised Government standards, but if this training is not enforced, then it’s pretty pointless.

“We, the family, feel Arriva must accept some responsibility for the events of July 7, 2016. Now is the time to make changes and make bus transport safer for all.”

The statement ended in a plea to Arriva: “Please take heed, make changes for the better and do not allow something like this to happen again.”

The bus operator has confirmed it is "constantly reviewing" its training policies and also offers refresher sessions for drivers employed by the company.

Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North East said: “First and foremost, our thoughts remain with Eileen Brennan’s family, and all the other families affected by the incident which took place in Darlington’s Northgate on 7 July 2016.

“The safety of staff and passengers is our top priority. We operate best practice driver training that is compliant with legal and DVSA training standards.

“They receive regular training which includes specially tailored refresher sessions and industry-approved Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) training.

“In addition we also offer additional practical training should we deem it necessary or appropriate.

“As a responsible business we are constantly reviewing our policies and training to ensure they are updated and cover all key requirements.”