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Two lorry drivers jailed over fatal M1 crash

March 22, 2018

Ryszard Masierak, 31, was sentenced to 14 years behind bars, while David Wagstaff, 54, got three years and four months in prison.

A minibus driver and seven passengers on their way to Disneyland died in the collision during the August bank holiday weekend.

Cyriac Joseph was behind the wheel of the minibus which was crushed between the lorries when Masierak came to a complete stop in the slow lane while twice the legal alcohol limit.

Wagstaff had his vehicle on cruise control and was chatting on his hands-free set when he ploughed into the back of the minibus at 56mph, forcing it under Masierak’s lorry near Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire.

Mr Joseph, along with Panneerselvam Annamalai, Rishi Ranjeev Kumar, Vivek Baskaran, Lavanyalakshmi Seetharaman, Karthikeyan Pugalur Ramasubramanian, Subramaniyan Arachelvan and Tamilmani Arachelvan were killed.

Four other people, including a four-year-old girl, were seriously injured in the tragedy.

Eight people have died following a crash involving two lorries and a minibus on the M1 at Newport Pagnell, near Milton Keynes
Image:Eight people have died following a crash involving two lorries and a minibus on the M1 at Newport Pagnell, near Milton Keynes

At Aylesbury Crown Court, Masierak was found guilty of eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Judge Francis Sheridan said to Masierak: “What you have tried to do is blame everyone and everybody except yourself.

“In short, you are a persistent, unmitigated, if not very accomplished, liar.”

He said he had shown “no remorse” and that there was “no mitigation” in his case.

Wagstaff, from Stoke, admitted eight counts of causing death by careless driving and four counts of careless driving, but was cleared of more serious charges of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Turning to Wagstaff, he said: “You had between nine and 11 seconds to see the vehicles ahead had you not been so distracted by using the phone, albeit on Bluetooth.

“You took no action whatsoever because you weren’t concentrating on what was in front of you – they were there to be seen and you didn’t see them.”

Cyriac Joseph, who was also known as Benny, died in the M1 crash near Milton Keynes on 26 August 2017
Image:Cyriac Joseph, who was also known as Benny, died in the M1 crash near Milton Keynes on 26 August 2017

Judge Sheridan acknowledged Wagstaff had not broken the law in using his Bluetooth headset at the wheel, but added: “It would be wrong of me not to take the opportunity to urge the public to download the app that deactivates your phone when you are on the move.”

He also thanked the victims’ families, many of whom were present at trial, saying: “They conducted themselves with utmost dignity which was utterly humbling, and allowed these defendants to have a fair trial.”

Both drivers were disqualified from driving and ordered to take an extended test if they ever wish to get behind the wheel again.

Masierak was banned for 17 years, while Wagstaff was banned for five.

Poland-born Masierak was also told he may face deportation upon his release.