LiveM5 crash inquest: Day seven from Shire Hall in Taunton

First published in News
Last updated

This live event has finished


  • Seven people died on night of November 4, 2011.
  • Pile-up on M5 northbound left 51 injured.
  • Legal proceedings against fireworks boss thrown out by judge in December.
  • Coroner resumed inquest on Monday, March 31 and could last two weeks.


FOR updates from day eight, click here.


AMBULANCE personnel were beaten back by the heat of fires when they initially parked up on the southbound carriageway.

Emergency commander John Dyer said: "There was a lot of panic, a lot of bystanders helping, trying to get people out, to carry them over the barriers."

A total of 51 casualties were rescued from the crash scene by paramedics - 17 of the most seriously injured were taken to Musgrove Park Hospital, where one later died, 25 went to Yeovil Hospital and nine were treated at the Holiday Inn.

A surgeon was flown from Exeter to assist at Musgrove.

A total of 42 ambulances attended.


A PICTURE of the "hostile environment" faced by firefighters was painted by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service group manager William Harvison.

He said dense smoke on the scene limited visibility and there was "a significant amount of heat" produced by lorries on fire.

"Multiple people were trapped and we had to try to prioritise which people to reach first," said Mr Harvison.

"There was a significant amount of walking wounded. People were making a lot of noise and asking for help."

A total of 21 appliances and 164 fire personnel attended the incident.

Firefighters who took part were given counselling sessions.


AN explosives expert said he had been unable to find any literature warning that smoke created by a fireworks display could cause traffic disruption.

Christophe Case was commissioned by police to investigate if a fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club had any bearing on the M5 crash.

He accompanied officers to Mr Counsell's home two days after the tragic accident on November 4, 2011, and later went to a farm where he kept fireworks in a shipping container.

"The facilities were very good - better than average," said Mr Case.

He also praised the "excellent quality" of the electronic equipment Mr Counsell used to ignite the fireworks.

But he said he found it unusual that Mr Counsell did not have a pre-planned firing order.

Mr Case said: "He said it was in his head. He orchestrated it as he went along."

Referring to literature he had read, Mr Case said: "I've never known of any incident where smoke created from a firework display was so great to disrupt a road on its own." 


Somerset County Gazette: Photos of the Taunton M5 crash tragedy

THE inquest into the deaths of seven people killed in a horrific pile-up on the M5 near Taunton in November 2011 continues today (April 8).

West Somerset Coroner Michel Rose will continue the hearing into the deaths of:

  • Tony and Pamela Adams, 73 and 70, of Newport,
  • Lorry drivers Terry Brice, 55, of Bristol,
  • Kye Thomas, 38, of Gunnislake, Cornwall,
  • Michael Barton, 67, and his daughter, Maggie, 23, of Berkshire,
  • And gas supply worker Malcolm Beacham, of Woolavington, near Bridgwater.

They all died in the 37-vehicle pile-up in which 51 people were also injured travelling northwards just past junction 25.

For updates from day six, click here.


Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree