1. ITV Report

Man charged over M5 pile-up

Seven people were killed and 51 injured in the M5 pile up in November 2011. Photo: Chris Ison/PA

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

Fifty year old Geoffery Counsell from Somerset was the provider of a nearby display at Taunton Rugby Club in 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.

Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas died in the pile-up on the M5, near Taunton, on the night of November 4, 2011.

In a joint statement, Avon and Somerset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, said Geoffrey Counsell was charged with seven counts of manslaughter.

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.

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 failings in the planning and operation of the display.

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.

– Avon and Somerset Police and Crown Prosecution Service

Seven people died and 51 people were injured on the M5 near Taunton following a collision between 34 vehicles, which was described as one of the worst British motorway crashes in memory.

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 Woolavington, near Bridgwater.

Among those badly injured in the crash on the north-bound carriageway at junction 25 was Emma Barton, 19, who woke from a five-day coma to discover she had been orphaned.

Her wheelchair-bound father Michael, 67, and 30-year-old sister Maggie died.

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

Watch the full report by Daisy Gray here: