A lorry driver has been convicted of causing the deaths of eight people in a crash on the M1.

Ryszard Masierak, 31, was at twice the drink-drive limit and had stopped in the inside lane when he was involved in the crash with a minibus and another lorry near Newport Pagnell.

He was found guilty of eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The jury at Reading Crown Court is still deliberating charges against the other lorry driver, David Wagstaff.

Masierak was also convicted of four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after the crash last August.

Wagstaff, 54, of Derwent Street, Stoke-on-Trent, denies the same charges.

Ryszard MasierakImage copyrightTHAMES VALLEY POLICE
Image captionRyszard Masierak stopped in the inside lane of the M1 at about 02:57 on 26 August

The trial heard Masierak’s vehicle was stopped in the carriageway for about 12 minutes – an act described by prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC as “as flagrant as it was dangerous”.

The eight people killed were all travelling in the minibus, which was carrying 11 Indian tourists from Nottingham to London ahead of a trip to Disneyland Paris.

The six men and two women were driver Cyriac Joseph, Panneerselvam Annamalai, Rishi Ranjeev Kumar, Vivek Baskaran, Lavanyalakshmi Seetharaman, Karthikeyan Pugalur Ramasubramanian, Subramaniyan Arachelvan and Tamilmani Arachelvan.

Four other passengers – including a four-year-old girl orphaned by the crash – spent weeks in hospital afterwards.

Cyriac JosephImage copyrightFACEBOOK
Image captionThe minibus was owned and being driven by Cyriac Joseph

The court was told AIM Logistics driver Masierak, a Polish national, stopped in the carriageway at about 02:57 BST, despite there being miles of hard shoulder available.

He admitted he had consumed alcohol. He told the court he stopped because he was sweating, felt weak and had a headache and had attempted to get onto the hard shoulder.

Masierak, of Barnards Close, Evesham, Worcestershire, then said he lost consciousness, only to be woken from what he described as a “small coma” when the crash happened.

Wagstaff has been released on continuing bail.



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