Charges dropped against 50-year-old accused of manslaughter after M5 crash

First published in News by

CHARGES against a 50-year-old man accused of the manslaughter of seven motorists on the M5 in 2011 have been dropped.

The Crown Prosecution Service today announced Geoffrey Counsell, who was charged following the infamous 34-car crash near Bridgwater, would not be be tried for manslaughter.

He will however face a separate charge under the Health and Safety Act.

On November 4, 2011, seven people died and 51 more were injured on the motorway near Taunton after fireworks launched at the nearby Rugby Club and provided by Counsell allegedly blinded them.

The Somerset man was later charged with the manslaughter of Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas.

Senior Investigation Officer for the M5 collision, Detective Superintendent Mike Courtiour said: "The collision on the M5 in November 2011 was one of the worst in living memory. Fifty one people were injured and seven people tragically lost their lives. We launched a comprehensive investigation immediately after to establish the full circumstances which led to the collision.

"Our investigation was meticulous and complex. We took hundreds of witness statements, examined 34 vehicles and consulted several experts, including meteorologists, pyrotechnic and forensic specialists.”

He added: “Based on this evidence the Crown Prosecution Service took a decision to charge. However, following further consideration in recent weeks they have decided to discontinue the manslaughter charges.

“With Health and Safety proceedings imminent, we are not able to comment any further.”

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