A SCHOOL bus driver has today pleaded guilty to causing a serious crash in Headbourne Worthy which left three children needing surgery.

The Stagecoach double decker bus heading for Henry Beaufort secondary school crashed into a railway bridge in Wellhouse Lane on September 10 last year ripping off the roof.

Three pupils needed surgery for life-changing injuries while 12 other suffered minor injuries. All the injured were aged between 11 and 16.

Driver Martin Robert Walker, 36, of Hood Road, Southampton, appeared at Winchester Crown Court this morning charged with three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Walker pleaded guilty to all three charges and will be sentenced on July 9.

Neil Fitzgibbon, his barrister, said his client suffers from learning difficulties and special educational reports will be produced before sentencing.

He continued: "Mr Walker has no previous convictions, he also has an unblemished record with Stagecoach and he himself is extremely affected by what he did on that occasion and consumed with remorse about what happened."

In adjourning the case, the judge, Mr Recorder Don Tait, said: “You have pleaded guilty to three very serious offences, you will in due course receive the appropriate credit for pleading guilty at this hearing.

"These are, as I have already said, serious offences and all options will be open to the sentencing court. The fact that I am adjourning for a pre-sentence and other reports is no indication of how you will be subsequently dealt with.”

Recorder Tait added a custodial sentence is a "real possibility".

Walker was released on unconditional bail.