Fireworks company boss charged with manslaughter over M5 pile-up that killed seven and injured 51

October 20, 2012 | by | 0 Comments

A fireworks company boss has been charged with seven counts of manslaughter over a fatal pile-up on the M5 in November last year.

Geoffery Counsell, 50, was the provider of a nearby display at Taunton Rugby Club, Somerset, on the night of the 34-car collision.

He will now appear before Bristol Magistrates Court next month charged in connection with the crash where seven died and 51 more were injured.

The wreckage on the M5 in November last year after the horror smash in which seven died and 51 were injured

The wreckage on the M5 in November last year after the horror smash in which seven died and 51 were injured

In a joint statement Avon and Somerset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service said Mr Counsell had been charged following alleged failings in the planning and operation of the display.

They said: “Today the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Avon and Somerset Police to charge Geoffrey Counsell with seven counts of manslaughter following the deaths of Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas in a collision on the M5 in November 2011.

“Since the collision we have worked closely together to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the collision and to carefully consider all the evidence.

“This has been a complex process which has also involved working with Taunton Deane Borough Council and seeking the views of expert witnesses.

Firefighters sift through the wreckage of one of the trucks involved in the crash. The boss of a fireworks company has been charged with manslaughter over the incident

Firefighters sift through the wreckage of one of the trucks involved in the crash. The boss of a fireworks company has been charged with manslaughter over the incident

The carnage on the motorway after the pile-up. Geoffrey Counsell has been charged following alleged failings in the planning and operation of the fireworks display next to the road at the time of the crash

The carnage on the motorway after the pile-up. Geoffrey Counsell has been charged following alleged failings in the planning and operation of the fireworks display next to the road at the time of the crash

“Having considered the evidence in line with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the CPS decided there was sufficient evidence to charge Geoffrey Counsell, the provider of the fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club on the night of the collision, with manslaughter.

“The charges are due to his alleged failings in the planning and operation of the display.”
They also said that no action would be taken against Taunton Rugby Club or any of the motorists involved.

They added: “It was clear from the investigation carried out by Avon and Somerset Police that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute for driver error and therefore no action will be taken against any motorists.

“The CPS also considered the culpability of Taunton Rugby Club and reached the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.”

A total of seven people were killed and 51 injured in the pile-up, which happened close to junction 25 at Taunton, Somerset, at 8.30 on November 4 last year.

Lorry drivers Terry Brice, from Patchway, south Gloucestershire, and Kye Thomas, from Gunnislake, Cornwall, died in the crash, along with father and daughter Michael and Maggie Barton, from Windsor, Berkshire, grandparents Anthony and Pamela Adams, from Newport, south Wales, and battle re-enactor Malcolm Beacham, from Bridgwater, Somerset.

Mr Counsell, who runs Firestorm Pyrotechnics, will appear before magistrates on November 12.

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