Manslaughter charges dropped over M5 crash

South Wales Argus: DIED: Anthony and Pamela Adams of Newport were killed in the M5 crash in 2011 DIED: Anthony and Pamela Adams of Newport were killed in the M5 crash in 2011

A MAN charged in relation to a fatal pile-up on the M5 motorway in which a Newport couple died has had all seven manslaughter charges against him dropped.

Geoffrey Counsell, from Taunton, will now face a separate charge under the Health and Safety Act.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “After further consideration, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to go ahead with the manslaughter charges against Geoffrey Counsell. He will now face a separate charge under the Health and Safety Act.”

The crash on the M5 on November 4, 2011, left seven people dead, including Newport grandparents, Anthony and Pamela Adams.

Mr and Mrs Adams had been driving back to their home after visiting their daughter, Tonia White, in Taunton.

More than 250 people attended the popular couple’s funeral at St Mark’s Church, Gold Tops, to celebrate their lives in December 2011.

Avon and Somerset Police 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.

“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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