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Man in court charged with M5 deaths

By This is Devon  |  Posted: November 12, 2012

A man from Somerset has appeared in court charged with manslaughter following a pile-up on the M5 in which seven people were killed.

Geoffrey Counsell, aged 50, was operating a firework display in a field close to the motorway, at Taunton Rugby Club, at the time of the crash on the night of November 4, 2011.

A court official said Counsell, who is accused of seven counts of manslaughter, was granted unconditional bail by Bristol magistrates and is due to appear at the city’s Crown Court on December 4.

More than 50 people were injured in the collision which involved 34 vehicles on the northbound carriageway at junction 25.

The incident 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, 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 was Emma Barton, aged 19, who woke from a five-day coma to discover she had been orphaned.

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

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