Somerset

M5 crash deaths accused Geoffrey Counsell pleads not guilty

M5 crash scene
Image caption Seven people died and 51 were injured in the pile-up involving 34 vehicles

The organiser of a fireworks display held on the night of a fatal motorway crash has pleaded not guilty to health and safety charges.

Geoffrey Counsell, from Somerset, was arrested after the crash, which left seven people dead, in November 2011.

The display was taking place at Taunton Rugby Club, alongside the motorway, when the crash happened.

Mr Counsell, 51, was bailed ahead of his next appearance at Bristol Crown Court on a date yet to be set.

Lorry drivers Terry Brice, from Patchway, South Gloucestershire, and Kye Thomas, from Gunnislake, Cornwall, died in the crash.

Father and daughter Michael and Maggie Barton, from Windsor, Berkshire; grandparents Anthony and Pamela Adams, from Newport, south Wales; and battle re-enactor Malcolm Beacham, from Woolavington, near Bridgwater, also died.

Manslaughter charges against Mr Counsell were dropped at an earlier hearing.

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