Highbridge man caught up in M5 crash reacts to charging of fireworks boss (From This is The West Country)
Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Highbridge man caught up in M5 crash reacts to charging of fireworks boss
A SPORTSMAN injured in the M5 pile-up has said he will be an interested spectator after charges were brought against the organiser of a fireworks display.
Geoffrey Counsell, 50, of Ashill, is facing seven counts of manslaughter over the deaths, which happened on November 4, 2011.
Mr Counsell, who will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court next month, was the organiser of a fireworks display being staged at nearby Taunton Rugby Club on the night of the disaster.
Seven people died in the crash, including Woolavington man Malcolm Beacham, a 46-year-old married father of two.
Cricketer Matt Counsell, 24, (no relation) was travelling back from a coaching session in Taunton when his Ford Fusion car was caught up in the 34-vehicle crash.
Speaking after the news of the charge broke this week, Huntspill & District Cricket Club captain Matt, of Highbridge, said: “It is difficult to say because it was all a blur for me and I could not see what caused the crash.
“Whether they find him guilty or not guilty, I am not quite sure what to think.
“I am just glad to walk away from it and I’m getting on with things – I’m happy to talk about it when people ask but I don't know how to feel about the charges yet."
A police spokesman said: “Having considered the evidence the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was sufficient evidence to charge Geoffrey Counsell with manslaughter.
“It was clear from the investigation there was insufficient evidence to prosecute for driver error and, therefore no action will be taken against any motorists.”
The other people who died in the collision were Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas.
More than 50 people were injured.
Geoffrey Counsell is due before Bristol Magistrates’ Court on November 12.