Highways England could face corporate manslaughter charges following smart motorway deaths

Highways England could face corporate manslaughter charges following a number of deaths on smart motorways in South Yorkshire.

Claire and Jason Mercer

It follows a meeting between South Yorkshire Police and the widow of Jason Mercer yesterday. He died on the smart motorway section of the M1 near Meadowhall in 2019 - when a lorry ploughed into his vehicle whilst it was stranded in the inside lane.  He stopped to exchange details with Alexandru Murgeanu following a minor collision. Alexandru also died.

Jason Mercer and Alexandru Murgeanu Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Today (Friday, 14 May) police confirmed that a senior investigating officer is to review evidence at the request of coroners following inquests into the deaths of Jason and two other motorists, Alexandru Murgeanu and mother-of-five Nargis Begum. 

Grandmother Nargis Begum died on the M1 in South Yorkshire

Mrs Begum, from Sheffield, a mother-of-five and grandmother-of-nine, was in a Nissan Qashqai driven by her husband which broke down on the M1 near Woodall Services.

She left the Nissan and was awaiting help when another vehicle crashed into her car, which then hit her.

Jason's widow Claire has since been campaigning for a review of smart motorways and would like to see hard the hard shoulder reinstated.

Our reporter Michael Billington spoke to Claire earlier:

In response a Highways England spokesperson said: