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Pyrotechnician charged over M5 crash deaths

By mwill  |  Posted: October 20, 2012

The scene of the M5 pile-up

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A pyrotechnican has been charged with seven counts of manslaughter in connection with the M5 pile-up involving 34 vehicles, which killed seven people and injured 51 on 4 November last year.

Geoffrey Counsell, 50, from Somerset, had organised a firework display at Taunton Rugby Club, close to the M5 motorway. The charges relate to alleged "failings in the planning and operation of the display."

In a joint statement issued yesterday, the Crown Prosecution Service and Avon and Somerset Police said:

"Today the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Avon and Somerset Police to charge Geoffrey Counsell with seven counts of manslaughter following the deaths of Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas in a collision on the M5 in November 2011.

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 failings in the planning and operation of the display."

None of the motorists involved will be charged as "...there was insufficient evidence to prosecute for driver error and therefore no action will be taken against any motorists."

Counsell will appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court next month.

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