Death crash lorry driver 'using laptop'

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The Independent Online

A family of six were wiped out by a lorry driver who might have been using a laptop computer as he drove along a motorway, a jury was told today.

David and Michelle Statham, of Llandudno, and their four children - sons Reece, 13, Jay, nine, and Mason, 20 months, and 10-week-old baby daughter Ellouise - were killed instantly in the crash on the M6 at Sandbach, Cheshire, last October.

Portuguese lorry driver Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva, 46, was not paying proper attention to the road when his 40-tonne large goods vehicle (LGV) smashed into the Statham family's Toyota Previa people carrier, it was alleged at Chester Crown Court.

As Mrs Statham's parents, Carole and Peter Hagans, and Mr Statham's mother Angela sat in the public gallery supported by family and friends, the horrific last moments of their children and grandchildren were recounted to the jury of seven men and five women.

Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, said the people carrier had come to a stop at the end of a long queue of traffic on the northbound carriageway of the motorway.

He said: "As the Statham family came behind a large container lorry, which was at the back of the queuing traffic, their car was struck from behind by another lorry.

"The Stathams' car was crushed between the two trucks. The front of the car was forced underneath the rear of the lorry ahead of them and the passenger compartment was compressed.

"Tragically, all six of the Statham family were killed.

"The lorry which hit their car from behind was driven by Paulo da Silva.

"He had not seen the queuing traffic ahead because he was not paying attention to his driving."