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Driver of school bus that crashed on M53 in the Wirral died of natural causes, says coroner

The driver of a school bus that crashed on the M53 in the Wirral died of natural causes, a coroner has said.

Stephen Shrimpton, 40, was killed on the northbound carriageway on 29 September last year as he was taking children to West Kirby and Calday Grange grammar schools.

Jessica Baker, 15, who was one of about 50 students onboard, also died.

Liverpool coroner's office said on Friday that Mr Shrimpton's case was now closed as it was found to be a natural cause of death.

No further details were released, although the coroner said in October that investigations would focus on the state of his heart.

CCTV showed Mr Shrimpton slump to his left behind the wheel, the inquest heard. The coach then left the road, went up an embankment and toppled over, ending up on its side.

An inquest for Jessica, from Chester, will be held at a later date, but the court previously heard she was partially thrown out the bus and suffered instantaneous fatal head injuries.

Four other children were taken to hospital and police said one of them, a 14-year-old boy, had "life-changing" injuries.

Thirteen other children were treated for minor injuries.

When the inquest opened in October, coroner Andre Rebello said it was "miraculous" others were not killed.

He said anyone over the age of 14 was responsible themselves for wearing a seat belt, but added clarity was needed over the rules on coaches and buses.

Mr Rebello said he intended to write to the Department for Transport for more information.

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In a statement 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."

Jessica's family said she was a talented climber and described her as a "warm-hearted, wonderful daughter, granddaughter and niece, devoted sister and loyal friend".