Distracted HGV driver 'was playing medieval fantasy game before fatal school minibus crash'

Anne Kerr, 50, and Joe Cairns, 14, who died in a crash on the M58 in Lancashire (MEN)

A districted HGV driver who was using phone apps including a medieval fantasy game shortly before a multi-vehicle collision in which two people died has admitted death by dangerous driving.

James Marjury, 33, was also said to have used apps including Sky Sports and Facebook before the fatal crash on the M58 at Bickerstaffe, Lancashire, in January last year.

Preston Crown Court heard that the Majury collided with a minibus carrying pupils and staff from Pontville School, a special educational needs school in Ormskirk.

Joe Cairns, 14, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, and staff member Anne Kerr, 50, from Southport, died from their injuries.

Joe Cairns, 14, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester also died. (MEN)

On Tuesday, Majury pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and five counts of causing serious injury.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said the Crown’s case was Majury was “voluntarily distracted” for a lengthy period up to and including the collision in which he reacted “no more than half a second” before impact.

Messages were also exchanged during the defendant’s journey on the morning of 8 January.

Majury was remanded in custody by Judge Robert Altham and told to expect a lengthy jail sentence on 31 March.

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Both prosecution and defence agreed that Majury’s actions were at the most serious end of the scale for such offending as he had showed a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road.

James Ageros QC, defending, said: “He would like to express his profound remorse and regret for his actions and for their tragic loss. One, of course, appreciates they are merely words but it is important that it is said on his behalf today.

“The events themselves have had a severe psychological and physical impact on Mr Majury.”

Anne Kerr, 50, from Southport, was one of two people killed in the crash. (MEN)

The defendant sat in the dock with his head bowed for most of the hearing.

Majury, of Milton Road, Coppull, Chorley, arrived at court on bail with his partner and asked that he remain at liberty until his sentencing date.

Mr Ageros explained that his client had yet to finalise the mortgage arrangements of the couple’s home and that they had also not yet sat down with their eight-year-old daughter to explain the consequences of his behaviour.

Refusing bail, Judge Altham said: “In a case of such gravity he should be remanded in custody and start that sentence today.”

Following the crash close to junction three of the motorway at about 8.45am, tributes were paid to the teenager and Mrs Kerr.

The youngster’s parents, Steph and Andy Cairns, said: “Joe, my brave boy, a true fighter with a heart of gold. An amazing sense of humour and infectious smile, a true superhero.”

Mrs Kerr’s family said: “Anne was much loved by all who knew her. She will be deeply missed by all her friends and family.”

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