Bury dad meets driver who was on Facebook when his HGV killed his son

A father whose son died in a crash caused by an HGV driver playing a game on his phone and checking Facebook said meeting him in prison provided some answers.

Joe Cairns, 14, was killed when 33 year old James Majury, hit a school minibus at 50 mph in a line of traffic on the M58 close to the junction at Bickerstaffe in Lancashire in 2019.

The aftermath of the crash on the M58 Credit: MEN

A support worker Anne Kerr, 50 from Southport also died and five others were injured.

She was a staff member at Pontville, a special educational needs school in Ormskirk where Joe Cairns attended.

Her family said the mother-of-two "was lovely to be around" and they were heartbroken by her death.

Support worker Anne Kerr's family have been devastated by her death Credit: MEN

Speaking on the fifth anniversary of his son's death Joe's father, Andy O'Dell, described meeting Majury in prison, after he was offered the chance through the restorative justice scheme.

He said it was a "senseless death" because he was on his phone, "playing games, looking at flights and checking Facebook for 45 minutes".

"I was so angry and couldn't cope with Joe's death, but the fact that he showed remorse and apologised, has helped me, to give me a purpose in life again.

"When I was told Joe had died, I asked how the driver was, I was concerned about him. I said if he was on his phone I would never forgive him."

Mr O'Dell, from Bury, Greater Manchester, said "he would like to go out with the police and show drivers using their phone a picture of his son and tell them it only takes a second to get distracted."

Majury from Chorley admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for eight years and 10 months.

Phone records showed he had been using his phone during the entire journey.

33-year-old James Majury was using his phone during his entire journey Credit: Lancashire Police

A range of events were organised at Joe Cairns first school, Westmorland School to mark the 5th anniversary of Joe's death.

Mr O'Dell said he also gives talks and shares his story to highlight the dangers of using a phone while driving.

He believes tougher punishments are needed for drivers who use their phone at the wheel and wants the government to do more.

"Majury has served four years of his sentence and will be eligible for release in July, which isn't enough for my son's life'.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Our deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of Joe Cairns and Anne Kerr.

"We have strict laws in place against using hand-held phones while driving and we're clear on the penalties for those who break them.

"The government had also raised the jail term for killer drivers from 14 years to life and continued to educate people with its Think! campaign."

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