M5 crash deaths: Geoffrey Counsell on manslaughter charges

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

A man has been charged with seven counts of manslaughter over a pile-up on the M5 in Somerset last year.

Geoffrey Counsell, from Somerset, was the provider of a nearby fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club on 4 November, the night of the collision.

The charges are connected to the planning and operation of the display, a police spokesman said.

Mr Counsell is due to appear before Bristol Magistrates' Court on 12 November.

Seven people were killed and 51 injured in the crash involving 34 vehicles.

The firework display was held in a field close to the motorway.

In a joint statement, Avon and Somerset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Today the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Avon and Somerset Police to charge Geoffrey Counsell with seven counts of manslaughter.

"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 also considered the culpability of Taunton Rugby Club and reached the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction."

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

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