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HGV driver jailed after using phone before fatal crash

A lorry driver in the UK, who crashed into a school mini bus after using his mobile phone at the wheel, has been jailed for eight years and 10 months, for killing a boy and his teaching assistant.

James Majury, 33, of Milton Road, Coppull, Chorley, was sentenced after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and a further five counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Preston Crown Court heard how Majury drove his 19 tonne Mercedes HGV into the back of a school mini bus at around 50mph, resulting in the deaths of 14-year-old Joe Cairns and teaching assistant Anne Kerr, 50.

Picture courtesy of Lancashire Police

Judge Robert Altham while sentencing said: “The reason James Majury didn’t see the obvious minibus and it’s precious occupants in front of him is because he prioritised checking Facebook over the safety of anyone on the road that day.”

Five others; the driver of the mini bus and three teenage passengers, as well as the driver of a Ford Transit van, all suffered multiple serious injuries in the seven-car collision which happened on the M58 close to junction 3 at Bickerstaffe.

The court heard how Majury reacted less than a second before the collision hitting the stationary Vauxhall Vivaro mini bus, containing Anne and Joe, who died at the scene on Tuesday, January 8 2019.

Mobile phone records showed that Majury had been looking at Facebook and fantasy game Hustle Castle, in the moments before the collision, which happened around 08:45. It also documents views on the SkySports app, and a series of text messages being sent and received throughout his journey.

The court heard how Majury received his last text message at 08:41, from his mother, which he admitted to looking down, away from the road, to view. He said it was then, when he looked back up, that he discovered he was approximately 12 metres away from the mini bus – which was stationary in a queue of traffic. Majury said he attempted to break but was unable to avoid the collision.

Picture courtesy of Lancashire Police