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M5 crash inquest to be held next year

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

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An inquest into the deaths of seven people – including a man from Cornwall – killed in a massive motorway crash in Somerset will take place next year.

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose will resume the hearing in March following the acquittal this week of firework contractor Geoffrey Counsell, 51.

Mr Counsell, who had been operating a display at the nearby Taunton rugby club, was cleared at Bristol Crown Court of breaching health and safety laws on the night of the accident on the M5, near Taunton, in November 2011.

He said he believed the decision to prosecute him was "motivated by a desire to find someone to blame for this terrible accident, simply for the sake of doing so".

Grandparents Anthony and Pamela Adams, from Newport, South Wales; father and daughter Michael and Maggie Barton, from Windsor, Berkshire; battle re-enactor Malcolm Beacham, from Woolavington, Somerset; and lorry drivers Terry Brice, from South Gloucestershire, and Kye Thomas, from Gunnislake, South East Cornwall, died and 51 people were injured, including some seriously, in the pile-up involving more than 30 cars.

During Mr Counsell's trial, motorists described the fog as being so thick on the northbound carriageway they likened it to having a tin of paint thrown over their windscreens.

The inquest, which will be heard before a jury, will begin on March 31 in Taunton and could take several weeks.

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