M5 crash trial: Cleared fireworks boss Geoffrey Counsell "hugely relieved"

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  • Geoffrey Counsell, 51, cleared of health and safety breach over fireworks display.
  • Judge directs jury to return not guilty verdict.
  • Mr Justice Simon said prosecution case "weighted heavily on hindsight".
  • Seven people died in one of Britain's worst motorway crashes two years ago.
  • Mr Counsell speaks of relief after "appalling experience".

6:03pm

4:17pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Monument says

TDBC and A & S Police did no more than their job. They investigated and presented their findings to the CPS. They and they alone make the decision on prosecution.

They have clearly let public interest override their responsibility to ensure sufficient evidence for a conviction existed. They should be made to explain their ridiculous decsion.

6:02pm

Defence lawyers told Taunton Deane Council officials the prosecution against Geoffrey Counsell was flawed several times, it has emerged.

In his statement read outside court, Mr Counsell told reporters: “Prior to the proceedings being brought, those representing me wrote to Taunton Deane highlighting the obvious flaws in the case. Those concerns were simply ignored.

“Again, in August of this year, those representing me set out in court documents the very issues which caused the case to come to a halt today. Nevertheless, the prosecution continued."

Taunton Deane has told the County Gazette it has budgeted £46,000 for investigation costs, but the CPS is responsible for the "majority" of costs. 

1:13pm

Barry Hughes, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West, said:

“This was an extremely complex case and we worked closely with Taunton Deane Borough Council and sought evidence from experts and many eye witnesses before making the decision to charge Geoffrey Counsell with breaching the Health and Safety Act.

“The burden falls on us to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge was not satisfied that the evidence available passed this high threshold and has directed the jury to acquit Mr Counsell. We accept this decision.

“Over the last few weeks the jury has heard from many of those present on the night of the incident. I would like to thank them for coming forward to give evidence as I know how hard it must have been to relive the events of that night.

“I would also like to thank Avon and Somerset police, who conducted a thorough and detailed investigation.

“Our thoughts today are with all those involved in and affected by this tragic incident.”

12:20pm

Mr Counsell says he is "hugely relieved" his "appalling experience" is over.

In his statement, he added: "I recognise my misfortune is as nothing compared with that of those bereaved and injured as a result of that accident. 

"Sitting in the dock over the last few weeks, I have been struck by the quiet dignity of the families of those affected by the crash as they listened, with me, to the evidence as it unfolded in court."

12:18pm

Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne said: "This brings to a legal end the terrible events of two years ago.

"But the families affected will live with the consequences of that appalling night forever.

"Although the evidence didn't support a prosecution, one legacy of what happened should still be a continued effort to improve road safety.

"Britain has low casualty rates compared to other European countries, but I have written to the Transport Secretary asking him to consider what more can be done to improve visibility and remove distractions along our motorway network."

11:42am

A statement was read on Mr Counsell's behalf by his solicitor Gavin Reese.

11:38am

Elaine Adams, daughter of victims Anthony and Pamela Adams and sister of Tonia White, from Taunton, said she is "upset and devastated."

She added: "Perhaps it should have gone a bit further and the judge should have made a more informed decision.

"I am very cross about what has happened and a lot of money has been wasted."

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

11:05am

10:58am Tue 10 Dec 13

Snookski says

A judge with common sense , pity its taken so long

10:49am

10:47am

10:47am

Hoping to hear from Mr Counsell shortly. His defence team says a statement is being prepared.

10:32am

10:11am Tue 10 Dec 13

jjjjjj/mmmmm says

Amazing news that Geoff Counsell has been cleared! He should never never have had to stand trial!

10:32am

Taunton Deane Council says the issue of costs is still to be determined.

10:30am

A statement released by Taunton Deane Council just now reads as follows:

The acquittal of Geoffrey Counsell, on the direction of the Hon Mr Justice Simon at his trial at Bristol Crown Court, marks the end of a lengthy investigation by Avon and Somerset Police and Taunton Deane Borough Council.

After the decision, Leader of the Council, Cllr John Williams, said: “I hope that the end of Crown Court proceedings brings some closure for the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives or suffered injury in the terrible events on November 4 2011.

“The Council is now seeking to work closely with the relevant authorities to see if the current guidance regarding large fireworks displays, such as the one at Taunton Rugby Club, is appropriate. We also pledge our support for any changes that may be deemed necessary.

“Our primary concern is to minimise the risks of this type of unimaginable incident happening again.

“On behalf of the Council, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to the families of the bereaved and the families and friends of all those affected by these terrible events.

“I would also pay tribute to all those who showed such bravery at the scene, to all the emergency services and to staff at the hospitals where the injured were treated.

“There will be a Coroner’s inquest in due course and the Coroner may make recommendations having heard the evidence laid before the inquest.”

Mr Counsell was charged with a single offence of breaching sections 3(2) & 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974:


s.3(2) “It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
s.33(1) “It is an offence for a person –
(a) to fail to discharge a duty to which he is subject by virtue of sections 2 to 7...”
Schedule 3A “Penalty on conviction on indictment – imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or a fine, or both.”

There is a statutory defence provided by section 40 of the Act:-
 

s.40  “In any proceedings for an offence ... consisting of a failure to comply with a duty ... to do something ... so far as is reasonably practicable, ... it shall be for the accused to prove ... that it was ... not reasonably practicable to do more than was in fact done to satisfy the duty ...”

Taunton Deane Council is the Enforcing Authority under the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998 in respect of health and safety matters at Taunton Rugby Football Club.

Following the accident that occurred on the M5 following the fireworks display, Taunton Deane Borough Council had a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related guidance to investigate the accident as an incident that had occurred or arisen from activities undertaken at Taunton Rugby Football Club.

Since the incident on the 4 November 2011, Taunton Deane Borough Council has been working with Avon & Somerset Constabulary in accordance with the Protocol for Liaison on Work Related Deaths.

The case was originally investigated by Avon and Somerset constabulary and the decision to initiate a prosecution was therefore made by the Crown Prosecution Service. Due to the nature of the resulting charges, Taunton Deane Borough Council took over primacy of the investigation from the police as the authority responsible for enforcement of offences of this type. The Crown Prosecution Service acted on behalf of Taunton Deane to present the outcome of the joint investigation to the court.

10:15am

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

A FIREWORKS boss accused of breaching health and safety laws on the night of a motorway pile-up which killed seven people has been cleared after a judge threw the case out.

Judge Mr Justice Simon said the prosecution case against Geoffrey Counsell was “weighted heavily on hindsight” and directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict this morning (December 10).

Mr Counsell, 51, was charged with failing to ensure the safety of others in relation to a display he organised at Taunton Rugby Club on November 4, 2011.

More follows...

Comments (33)

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10:11am Tue 10 Dec 13

jjjjjj/mmmmm says...

Amazing news that Geoff Counsell has been cleared! He should never never have had to stand trial!
Amazing news that Geoff Counsell has been cleared! He should never never have had to stand trial! jjjjjj/mmmmm

10:47am Tue 10 Dec 13

mikeymike says...

Health and safety gone mad.

Next I will be able to sue the council if a conker hits me on the head because there are no warning signs!!!!
Health and safety gone mad. Next I will be able to sue the council if a conker hits me on the head because there are no warning signs!!!! mikeymike

10:58am Tue 10 Dec 13

Snookski says...

A judge with common sense , pity its taken so long
A judge with common sense , pity its taken so long Snookski

11:05am Tue 10 Dec 13

LM says...

The right decision. It was a tragedy but and accident. Should never have gone to court.
The right decision. It was a tragedy but and accident. Should never have gone to court. LM

11:50am Tue 10 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

They were looking for a scapegoat but it wasn't Geoff. New all along he would get the right verdict ! Well done the judge ! !
They were looking for a scapegoat but it wasn't Geoff. New all along he would get the right verdict ! Well done the judge ! ! MINIME2

12:27pm Tue 10 Dec 13

ToytownTim says...

Great news. This witch hunt should have never taken place in the first place. They were just trying to find a scapegoat.

I was there on that evening and there were pockets of fog on the motorway, not smoke. I also had smoke and debri in my garden at Blackbrook afterwards, which shows the wind was blowing in the opposite direction.
Great news. This witch hunt should have never taken place in the first place. They were just trying to find a scapegoat. I was there on that evening and there were pockets of fog on the motorway, not smoke. I also had smoke and debri in my garden at Blackbrook afterwards, which shows the wind was blowing in the opposite direction. ToytownTim

12:40pm Tue 10 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

I hope his previous neighbours who made their lives a misery are groveling ! Don't they know the saying " innocent until proven otherwise " Of course nobody forgets the families of the bereaved or living with the memories of thatnight .
I hope his previous neighbours who made their lives a misery are groveling ! Don't they know the saying " innocent until proven otherwise " Of course nobody forgets the families of the bereaved or living with the memories of thatnight . MINIME2

12:54pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Le-anne says...

At last some common sense. He was never at fault. You cant control the weather or how people drive.
At last some common sense. He was never at fault. You cant control the weather or how people drive. Le-anne

1:58pm Tue 10 Dec 13

gx2000 says...

“Our thoughts today are with all those involved in and affected by this tragic incident.”
Including, presumably, Geoff Counsell himself, given that his business and reputation (and, to an extent, his whole life) have been irreparably damaged by these allegations?
“Our thoughts today are with all those involved in and affected by this tragic incident.” Including, presumably, Geoff Counsell himself, given that his business and reputation (and, to an extent, his whole life) have been irreparably damaged by these allegations? gx2000

1:59pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Blue Owl says...

What a piece of common sense from the Judge, looked @ the evidence b4 him from the prosecution side! and decided that the so called evidence did not warrant pursuing with the prosecution.
I'm afraid that in this days life, there has to be some one found accountable, even when there is'nt one. As in this case.
The weather conditions were to blame, not the Event Organiser Jeff, it will be interesting when the judgement is interpreted later on to hear the exact reason! is! which vehicle firstly deviated! struck! or drove into the back of another.??? The prosecution of Jeff , was so that the insurance companies could settle the claims from his public liability cover! had he been Convicted of causing this carnage.
It will not bring back those who lost loved ones on this terrible night, but might help with closure......
I'm sure as a result, we all take more care as a result of this happening on our doorstep, reducing. Speed in these now foggy months during the winter.
Jeff, good job you have been strong through out this ordeal.

Not that this is anywhere near the seriousness of what you have faced, but
, I sympathise with your plight, as I was wrongly charged with an Road Rage some years ago, waited 18 months to go to Taunton Crown Court, for a 3 Day trial.
Likewise, thrown out by the judge after 2 hours, as the prosecution evidence was contradictory and conflicting.........
... Dismissed the jury! Dismissed the Charges against me.
But then Bound me over for 2 Years to keep the peace. !!!!!! It still rankles me now 6 + years on..
Our So called judicial System working @ it's best or worst, Wasting £ thousands of taxpayers money......
The stigma is still there, from those who bear grudges and wish to recycle that time in my life.
What a piece of common sense from the Judge, looked @ the evidence b4 him from the prosecution side! and decided that the so called evidence did not warrant pursuing with the prosecution. I'm afraid that in this days life, there has to be some one found accountable, even when there is'nt one. As in this case. The weather conditions were to blame, not the Event Organiser Jeff, it will be interesting when the judgement is interpreted later on to hear the exact reason! is! which vehicle firstly deviated! struck! or drove into the back of another.??? The prosecution of Jeff , was so that the insurance companies could settle the claims from his public liability cover! had he been Convicted of causing this carnage. It will not bring back those who lost loved ones on this terrible night, but might help with closure...... I'm sure as a result, we all take more care as a result of this happening on our doorstep, reducing. Speed in these now foggy months during the winter. Jeff, good job you have been strong through out this ordeal. Not that this is anywhere near the seriousness of what you have faced, but , I sympathise with your plight, as I was wrongly charged with an Road Rage some years ago, waited 18 months to go to Taunton Crown Court, for a 3 Day trial. Likewise, thrown out by the judge after 2 hours, as the prosecution evidence was contradictory and conflicting......... ... Dismissed the jury! Dismissed the Charges against me. But then Bound me over for 2 Years to keep the peace. !!!!!! It still rankles me now 6 + years on.. Our So called judicial System working @ it's best or worst, Wasting £ thousands of taxpayers money...... The stigma is still there, from those who bear grudges and wish to recycle that time in my life. Blue Owl

2:12pm Tue 10 Dec 13

FreeSpeech? says...

Another waste of council tax payers money by TDBC and Avon and Somerset Constabulary and I'm sure they will try and justify it.
Another waste of council tax payers money by TDBC and Avon and Somerset Constabulary and I'm sure they will try and justify it. FreeSpeech?

4:17pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Monument says...

TDBC and A & S Police did no more than their job. They investigated and presented their findings to the CPS. They and they alone make the decision on prosecution.

They have clearly let public interest override their responsibility to ensure sufficient evidence for a conviction existed. They should be made to explain their ridiculous decsion.
TDBC and A & S Police did no more than their job. They investigated and presented their findings to the CPS. They and they alone make the decision on prosecution. They have clearly let public interest override their responsibility to ensure sufficient evidence for a conviction existed. They should be made to explain their ridiculous decsion. Monument

4:27pm Tue 10 Dec 13

FreeSpeech? says...

So their job includes illegal search and seizure does it?
So their job includes illegal search and seizure does it? FreeSpeech?

4:38pm Tue 10 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

No mention of the statements that were not taken into account ? 17 of them so I read where were they ? They tried Geoff on manslaughter that didn't work they tried him on health and safety , that didn't work , they were looking for a scapegoat ! End of story.
No mention of the statements that were not taken into account ? 17 of them so I read where were they ? They tried Geoff on manslaughter that didn't work they tried him on health and safety , that didn't work , they were looking for a scapegoat ! End of story. MINIME2

6:41pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Leonthecleaner says...

The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay!


Not very intelligent tho' Is he?!
The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay! Not very intelligent tho' Is he?! Leonthecleaner

7:46pm Tue 10 Dec 13

FreeSpeech? says...

Leonthecleaner wrote:
The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay!


Not very intelligent tho' Is he?!
So everyone is dim including the Judge, everyone except you a cleaner!
[quote][p][bold]Leonthecleaner[/bold] wrote: The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay! Not very intelligent tho' Is he?![/p][/quote]So everyone is dim including the Judge, everyone except you a cleaner! FreeSpeech?

8:08pm Tue 10 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

I think those of you who don't like the judge's decision should be sat around a guillotine with your knitting. The decision has been made now the man alone. I think the truth of the matter is the accident was caused by SPEED ! and it was just that an accident. No point keep trying to blame somebody.They have tried twice with this man .
I think those of you who don't like the judge's decision should be sat around a guillotine with your knitting. The decision has been made now the man alone. I think the truth of the matter is the accident was caused by SPEED ! and it was just that an accident. No point keep trying to blame somebody.They have tried twice with this man . MINIME2

8:14pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Jamesey says...

This is great news. But what a waste of time and money bringing it to court. I'm glad that this man hasn't been made a scapegoat for this tragic accident.
This is great news. But what a waste of time and money bringing it to court. I'm glad that this man hasn't been made a scapegoat for this tragic accident. Jamesey

8:34pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Leonthecleaner says...

FreeSpeech? wrote:
Leonthecleaner wrote: The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay! Not very intelligent tho' Is he?!
So everyone is dim including the Judge, everyone except you a cleaner!
I rest my case.
[quote][p][bold]FreeSpeech?[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Leonthecleaner[/bold] wrote: The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay! Not very intelligent tho' Is he?![/p][/quote]So everyone is dim including the Judge, everyone except you a cleaner![/p][/quote]I rest my case. Leonthecleaner

11:49am Wed 11 Dec 13

gx2000 says...

Leonthecleaner wrote:
The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay!


Not very intelligent tho' Is he?!
And you base this rash assumption on what, exactly?
[quote][p][bold]Leonthecleaner[/bold] wrote: The fanclub have spoken. NOT GUILTY they cry. Yay! Not very intelligent tho' Is he?![/p][/quote]And you base this rash assumption on what, exactly? gx2000

9:17pm Wed 11 Dec 13

madcow says...

Geoffrey Council in my opinion was not to blame for the tragic accident that occurred that night. i live about 700 yards from where the accident happened. I was driving that night and it was the foggiest i have ever known. I was driving along the road by the rugby club about 10 mins before the accident happened.( a road i know very well) and i was really frightening because i couldn't even see my windscreen wipers.
Geoffrey Council in my opinion was not to blame for the tragic accident that occurred that night. i live about 700 yards from where the accident happened. I was driving that night and it was the foggiest i have ever known. I was driving along the road by the rugby club about 10 mins before the accident happened.( a road i know very well) and i was really frightening because i couldn't even see my windscreen wipers. madcow

1:08pm Thu 12 Dec 13

felizollie says...

madcow wrote:
Geoffrey Council in my opinion was not to blame for the tragic accident that occurred that night. i live about 700 yards from where the accident happened. I was driving that night and it was the foggiest i have ever known. I was driving along the road by the rugby club about 10 mins before the accident happened.( a road i know very well) and i was really frightening because i couldn't even see my windscreen wipers.
Its a shame therefore, the police couldnt have taken your evidence of the conditions at that time & saved Tax payers alot of money.It was obvious it was the weather conditions Typical council too wraped up with H&S to have any common sense.No such stupid H&S here in spain & life is alot easier
The police always patroling the streets in 2s to keep us safe from trouble maybe there should be sackings from the council now & the money saved from their overpaid jobs, spent on bobbies on the beat instead
Glad i live in spain
[quote][p][bold]madcow[/bold] wrote: Geoffrey Council in my opinion was not to blame for the tragic accident that occurred that night. i live about 700 yards from where the accident happened. I was driving that night and it was the foggiest i have ever known. I was driving along the road by the rugby club about 10 mins before the accident happened.( a road i know very well) and i was really frightening because i couldn't even see my windscreen wipers.[/p][/quote]Its a shame therefore, the police couldnt have taken your evidence of the conditions at that time & saved Tax payers alot of money.It was obvious it was the weather conditions Typical council too wraped up with H&S to have any common sense.No such stupid H&S here in spain & life is alot easier The police always patroling the streets in 2s to keep us safe from trouble maybe there should be sackings from the council now & the money saved from their overpaid jobs, spent on bobbies on the beat instead Glad i live in spain felizollie

10:21pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Leonthecleaner says...

The loyalty shown by you all to Mr Counsell is admirable and is to be commended, however, in response to comments on my post I'd like to be given the opportunity to reply. gx2000, 'rash'? after two years? I think not.'Assumption'? Hardly! The facts speak for themselves. Someone, no names mentioned let off 1500 (?) fireworks within spitting distance of a motorway. Just how bright is THAT? Madcow. I was on the motorway as it happened, (statement taken). Where were you exactly? fellizollie? Good for you. Freespeech? Me ? a cleaner?' I guess I would be to the likes of you! Now, I'm sure Mr Counsell is a very nice person, but, forget the fact that a great many people died on that night, forget that a great many people were injured on that night, forget that a great many people are still and will be for a long time grieveing for thier lost ones from that night, forget that Somersets finest emergency personel attended that attrocity, some dumbfusoandso let off all those fireworks, right, next, to, the, motorway. Thanks to this sort of this mindless stupidity, you will find warnings on the side of paint cans, that says, "DO NOT DRINK THIS PRODUCT". At the end of the day, whats happened , HAS happened, we cant alter that. So, go light the blue touchpaper, stand well back and take the consequenses.
The loyalty shown by you all to Mr Counsell is admirable and is to be commended, however, in response to comments on my post I'd like to be given the opportunity to reply. gx2000, 'rash'? after two years? I think not.'Assumption'? Hardly! The facts speak for themselves. Someone, no names mentioned let off 1500 (?) fireworks within spitting distance of a motorway. Just how bright is THAT? Madcow. I was on the motorway as it happened, (statement taken). Where were you exactly? fellizollie? Good for you. Freespeech? Me ? a cleaner?' I guess I would be to the likes of you! Now, I'm sure Mr Counsell is a very nice person, but, forget the fact that a great many people died on that night, forget that a great many people were injured on that night, forget that a great many people are still and will be for a long time grieveing for thier lost ones from that night, forget that Somersets finest emergency personel attended that attrocity, some dumbfusoandso let off all those fireworks, right, next, to, the, motorway. Thanks to this sort of this mindless stupidity, you will find warnings on the side of paint cans, that says, "DO NOT DRINK THIS PRODUCT". At the end of the day, whats happened , HAS happened, we cant alter that. So, go light the blue touchpaper, stand well back and take the consequenses. Leonthecleaner

1:43am Fri 13 Dec 13

Three Pots Derek says...

MINIME2 wrote:
I think those of you who don't like the judge's decision should be sat around a guillotine with your knitting. The decision has been made now the man alone. I think the truth of the matter is the accident was caused by SPEED ! and it was just that an accident. No point keep trying to blame somebody.They have tried twice with this man .
Accidents do happen and in this case a scapegoat was needed in order to pass the blame onto some-one Jeff has got to live with what the last 2 years have done to him. I hope he has the strengh to do this.
[quote][p][bold]MINIME2[/bold] wrote: I think those of you who don't like the judge's decision should be sat around a guillotine with your knitting. The decision has been made now the man alone. I think the truth of the matter is the accident was caused by SPEED ! and it was just that an accident. No point keep trying to blame somebody.They have tried twice with this man .[/p][/quote]Accidents do happen and in this case a scapegoat was needed in order to pass the blame onto some-one Jeff has got to live with what the last 2 years have done to him. I hope he has the strengh to do this. Three Pots Derek

11:51am Fri 13 Dec 13

heather147 says...

Thank Goodness justice has been done and Mr Counsell has been cleared. He was just a scapegoat and lots of money has been wasted on this trial that should never have gone to Court in the first place.

I still believe this accident was caused by drivers driving too fast in the conditions. It was FOGGY that night, they should have slowed down. Probably too busy talking on a mobile phone or texting. You only need to go up the motorway any day in bad conditions, fog, snow, driving rain, etc, to see the way some people drive. I try to stay away from the motorway, it is scary.
Thank Goodness justice has been done and Mr Counsell has been cleared. He was just a scapegoat and lots of money has been wasted on this trial that should never have gone to Court in the first place. I still believe this accident was caused by drivers driving too fast in the conditions. It was FOGGY that night, they should have slowed down. Probably too busy talking on a mobile phone or texting. You only need to go up the motorway any day in bad conditions, fog, snow, driving rain, etc, to see the way some people drive. I try to stay away from the motorway, it is scary. heather147

12:45pm Fri 13 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

Leonthcleaner. You made a statement that night ? What about the 17 statements that were not used in evidence saying the smoke was blowing the opposite way ? The authorities were looking for a scapegoat . I could point my finger at the vehicle that caused the accident after studying the same picture several times. I hope that driver can sleep at night.
Leonthcleaner. You made a statement that night ? What about the 17 statements that were not used in evidence saying the smoke was blowing the opposite way ? The authorities were looking for a scapegoat . I could point my finger at the vehicle that caused the accident after studying the same picture several times. I hope that driver can sleep at night. MINIME2

4:02pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Tinhharris says...

leon the cleaner, i understand anyone directly involved or on the motorway at the time will be deeply moved, even angry, and want to blaim. You clearly lack local knowledge. Madcow is describing a road that runs alongside the M5 and rugby club. The weather was horrible that night. You get patches of very dense fog around that area between creech st Michael and the junction. The M5 crosses flood planes, streams, a river twice, and a canal very near by. The fog can be so patchy that you can be in and out of it in a few hundred yards ( We had patchy fog, abet very thin here Monday like that). Added to the fact the rain was so heavy that night that part of a retaining wall along side the river parret fell in in Bridgwater, there was an awful lot of spray on the roads that night.
So a combined factor of a very dark night, heavy spray , and short patches of dence fog, I can see why perhaps people put 2+2 together and made 3, I can see why people may have confused fog for smoke. I don't think along side the M5 is the best place for a fire work display, as drivers are easily distracted, but I also dont think he was to blaime. Your angry stupid comments help no one leon the cleaner, especially when aimed at people such as madcow, who was quite just in her comments.
leon the cleaner, i understand anyone directly involved or on the motorway at the time will be deeply moved, even angry, and want to blaim. You clearly lack local knowledge. Madcow is describing a road that runs alongside the M5 and rugby club. The weather was horrible that night. You get patches of very dense fog around that area between creech st Michael and the junction. The M5 crosses flood planes, streams, a river twice, and a canal very near by. The fog can be so patchy that you can be in and out of it in a few hundred yards ( We had patchy fog, abet very thin here Monday like that). Added to the fact the rain was so heavy that night that part of a retaining wall along side the river parret fell in in Bridgwater, there was an awful lot of spray on the roads that night. So a combined factor of a very dark night, heavy spray , and short patches of dence fog, I can see why perhaps people put 2+2 together and made 3, I can see why people may have confused fog for smoke. I don't think along side the M5 is the best place for a fire work display, as drivers are easily distracted, but I also dont think he was to blaime. Your angry stupid comments help no one leon the cleaner, especially when aimed at people such as madcow, who was quite just in her comments. Tinhharris

4:07pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Tinhharris says...

I wish drivers would also give each other more space when driving in such conditions, and slow down, people carry on at the same distance and pace regardless of conditions, and even if this case had the wrong outcome (it didnt in my opinion) shouldn't drivers drive to expect the unexpected? I am a driver, Id be lost without driving, but we have this strange attitude in this country at the moment that the driver is nearly always right.
I wish drivers would also give each other more space when driving in such conditions, and slow down, people carry on at the same distance and pace regardless of conditions, and even if this case had the wrong outcome (it didnt in my opinion) shouldn't drivers drive to expect the unexpected? I am a driver, Id be lost without driving, but we have this strange attitude in this country at the moment that the driver is nearly always right. Tinhharris

5:38pm Fri 13 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

I believe it said that the same firework display was held in the same place by the same people for the last few years. Why was there no objection raised before ? because there was not an accident. Again they were looking for a scapegoat. I'm sure we all feel for the bereaved and injured.
I believe it said that the same firework display was held in the same place by the same people for the last few years. Why was there no objection raised before ? because there was not an accident. Again they were looking for a scapegoat. I'm sure we all feel for the bereaved and injured. MINIME2

5:38pm Fri 13 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

I believe it said that the same firework display was held in the same place by the same people for the last few years. Why was there no objection raised before ? because there was not an accident. Again they were looking for a scapegoat. I'm sure we all feel for the bereaved and injured.
I believe it said that the same firework display was held in the same place by the same people for the last few years. Why was there no objection raised before ? because there was not an accident. Again they were looking for a scapegoat. I'm sure we all feel for the bereaved and injured. MINIME2

9:13am Sun 15 Dec 13

madcow says...

felizollie wrote:
madcow wrote:
Geoffrey Council in my opinion was not to blame for the tragic accident that occurred that night. i live about 700 yards from where the accident happened. I was driving that night and it was the foggiest i have ever known. I was driving along the road by the rugby club about 10 mins before the accident happened.( a road i know very well) and i was really frightening because i couldn't even see my windscreen wipers.
Its a shame therefore, the police couldnt have taken your evidence of the conditions at that time & saved Tax payers alot of money.It was obvious it was the weather conditions Typical council too wraped up with H&S to have any common sense.No such stupid H&S here in spain & life is alot easier
The police always patroling the streets in 2s to keep us safe from trouble maybe there should be sackings from the council now & the money saved from their overpaid jobs, spent on bobbies on the beat instead
Glad i live in spain
I did sent my statement to the Police. Taunton isn't that bad a place to live, and it has nothing to do with how many police beat the streets, this was a tragic horrific accident that could have happened anywhere. Its just you don't hear about what goes on elsewhere as its not local. I'm sure there are as bad things going on in Spain- If i recall don't the police carry guns?
[quote][p][bold]felizollie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]madcow[/bold] wrote: Geoffrey Council in my opinion was not to blame for the tragic accident that occurred that night. i live about 700 yards from where the accident happened. I was driving that night and it was the foggiest i have ever known. I was driving along the road by the rugby club about 10 mins before the accident happened.( a road i know very well) and i was really frightening because i couldn't even see my windscreen wipers.[/p][/quote]Its a shame therefore, the police couldnt have taken your evidence of the conditions at that time & saved Tax payers alot of money.It was obvious it was the weather conditions Typical council too wraped up with H&S to have any common sense.No such stupid H&S here in spain & life is alot easier The police always patroling the streets in 2s to keep us safe from trouble maybe there should be sackings from the council now & the money saved from their overpaid jobs, spent on bobbies on the beat instead Glad i live in spain[/p][/quote]I did sent my statement to the Police. Taunton isn't that bad a place to live, and it has nothing to do with how many police beat the streets, this was a tragic horrific accident that could have happened anywhere. Its just you don't hear about what goes on elsewhere as its not local. I'm sure there are as bad things going on in Spain- If i recall don't the police carry guns? madcow

9:18am Sun 15 Dec 13

madcow says...

Leonthecleaner wrote:
The loyalty shown by you all to Mr Counsell is admirable and is to be commended, however, in response to comments on my post I'd like to be given the opportunity to reply. gx2000, 'rash'? after two years? I think not.'Assumption'? Hardly! The facts speak for themselves. Someone, no names mentioned let off 1500 (?) fireworks within spitting distance of a motorway. Just how bright is THAT? Madcow. I was on the motorway as it happened, (statement taken). Where were you exactly? fellizollie? Good for you. Freespeech? Me ? a cleaner?' I guess I would be to the likes of you! Now, I'm sure Mr Counsell is a very nice person, but, forget the fact that a great many people died on that night, forget that a great many people were injured on that night, forget that a great many people are still and will be for a long time grieveing for thier lost ones from that night, forget that Somersets finest emergency personel attended that attrocity, some dumbfusoandso let off all those fireworks, right, next, to, the, motorway. Thanks to this sort of this mindless stupidity, you will find warnings on the side of paint cans, that says, "DO NOT DRINK THIS PRODUCT". At the end of the day, whats happened , HAS happened, we cant alter that. So, go light the blue touchpaper, stand well back and take the consequenses.
So if that is the case. Why the following year was there a firework display at Taunton Race Course- Where is that i hear you ask oh Yeah!!! right next to the M5 and it wasn't foggy. I totally agree there were many great people lost in that tragic accident, and those people will suffer for the rest of their lives.
[quote][p][bold]Leonthecleaner[/bold] wrote: The loyalty shown by you all to Mr Counsell is admirable and is to be commended, however, in response to comments on my post I'd like to be given the opportunity to reply. gx2000, 'rash'? after two years? I think not.'Assumption'? Hardly! The facts speak for themselves. Someone, no names mentioned let off 1500 (?) fireworks within spitting distance of a motorway. Just how bright is THAT? Madcow. I was on the motorway as it happened, (statement taken). Where were you exactly? fellizollie? Good for you. Freespeech? Me ? a cleaner?' I guess I would be to the likes of you! Now, I'm sure Mr Counsell is a very nice person, but, forget the fact that a great many people died on that night, forget that a great many people were injured on that night, forget that a great many people are still and will be for a long time grieveing for thier lost ones from that night, forget that Somersets finest emergency personel attended that attrocity, some dumbfusoandso let off all those fireworks, right, next, to, the, motorway. Thanks to this sort of this mindless stupidity, you will find warnings on the side of paint cans, that says, "DO NOT DRINK THIS PRODUCT". At the end of the day, whats happened , HAS happened, we cant alter that. So, go light the blue touchpaper, stand well back and take the consequenses.[/p][/quote]So if that is the case. Why the following year was there a firework display at Taunton Race Course- Where is that i hear you ask oh Yeah!!! right next to the M5 and it wasn't foggy. I totally agree there were many great people lost in that tragic accident, and those people will suffer for the rest of their lives. madcow

11:27am Sun 15 Dec 13

MINIME2 says...

Madcow you have summed this up in one statement. Well done and thank you.
Madcow you have summed this up in one statement. Well done and thank you. MINIME2

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