LiveReaction: Fireworks display organiser charged over fatal Somerset M5 crash

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  • Seven died in crash on night of November 4, 2011
  • Nearby fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club possible factor
  • Geoffrey Counsell, 50, of Ashill, charged over deaths


THE full statement from Avon and Somerset Police which was released on Friday night:

"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 alleged 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."


Bridgwater Mercury: The scene the morning after the fatal M5 crash

PEOPLE in Somerset are beginning the week digesting the news that a man has been charged in connection with the deaths of seven people on the M5 who died in a horrific multiple pile-up almost one year ago.

Geoffrey Counsell, 50, of Ashill, is to appear in court charged with seven counts of manslaughter in relation to the incident on November 4, 2011, police announced on Friday.

Mr Counsell was the organiser of a fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club, near to the scene of the crash, which finished shortly before the pile-up happened.

He will appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court on November 12.

The victims of the crash were: Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas.

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