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Daughter of M5 crash victims 'sorry' for accused
A GRIEVING woman has expressed her sympathy for the fireworks boss accused of causing the death of her parents and five others in an horrific motorway crash.
Mr Counsell, who ran a fireworks display at nearby Taunton Rugby Club shortly before the smash, is due at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Monday, November 12.
As well as claiming seven lives, the 34-vehicle pile-up on November 4 last year also left 51 people injured.
Mrs White, of Taunton, said: “I don’t really know what to think or what I feel about him being charged.
“It brings everything up again, things from a year ago when it all began.
“This chap organised a fireworks display for everybody’s enjoyment.
“I’m sure he’s got family and it must be hard for them.
“He’s been going through this for a year as well and must have been in torment.
“Now he’s been charged, it can’t be easy for him.”
Police announced last Friday that the Crown Prosecution Service had given the go-ahead to charge Mr Counsell following the death of Mrs White’s parents, Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas on November 4, 2011.
A force spokesman said: “The charges are due to his alleged failings in the planning and operation of the display.”
He added: “It was clear from the investigation carried out by Avon and Somerset Police that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute for driver error and therefore no action will be taken against any motorists.”
The CPS has also decided not to charge Taunton Rugby Club due to “insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction”.
The club’s solicitor Kieran Walshe, mindful of the upcoming court case and the bereaved families’ feelings, said: “It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.”
The police spokesman added: “The victims’ families are being supported by dedicated family liaison officers from Avon and Somerset Police and this will continue throughout the duration of the court proceedings.”