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Lorry driver who killed mum and boy in crash while using phone at wheel jailed

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A lorry driver who killed a schoolboy and mother-of-two when he crashed into a school minibus while using his mobile phone at the wheel has been jailed for eight years and 10 months.

James Majury was said to have effectively "unleashed a 19.2-tonne battering ram with his eyes closed" on the M58 in Lancashire as he opened apps on his phone and sent text messages while driving at speeds of up to 56mph.

The 33-year-old from Coppull, Chorley, "prioritised" checking his Facebook account at the wheel over the safety of other road users, Preston Crown Court heard.

Image: The crash involved an HGV, a minibus and five other vehicles

He accessed the app less than a minute before his Mercedes Arocs vehicle, heavily laden with scaffolding, ploughed into the back of a nine-seater minibus carrying pupils and staff from Pontville School, a special educational needs facility in Ormskirk.

Majury slammed on his brakes just half a second before hitting the minibus, Preston Crown Court heard.

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Joe Cairns, 14, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, and teaching assistant Anne Kerr, 50, from Southport, died from their injuries at the scene on 8 January 2019.

Majury pleaded guilty in February to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and five counts of causing serious injury.

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Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Robert Altham said: "The sad conclusion was this. The defendant did not see the obvious minibus and of course its precious occupants because he prioritised checking his Facebook over the safety of anyone else on the road that day.

"The force of the impact was so great the rear portion of the minibus was completely crushed.

Joe Cairns. Pic: Lancashire Constabulary
Image: 14-year-old Joe Cairns died in the crash

"In a split second, those two lives were lost. These were precious individuals indeed.

"Their lives and the lives of those close to them have been laid waste by this defendant."

Five others – the driver of the minibus and three teenage passengers, plus the driver of a Ford Transit van – were seriously injured in the seven-car collision close to the junction of the M58 westbound at Bickerstaffe.

Anne Kerr. Pic: Lancashire Constabulary
Image: Mother-of-two and teaching assistant Anne Kerr also died at the scene

The court heard Majury had opened other apps during his journey, including medieval fantasy game Hustle Castle and Sky Sports News, as well as responding to text messages from his mother.

He also twice manually unlocked his phone by entering a six-digit pin.

The court heard how Majury received his last text message at 8.41am, from his mother, which he admitted to looking down at.

M58 lorry crash. Pic: Lancashire Police
Image: Mrs Kerr's husband, Simon, said he hopes people will 'think about the devastation that has been caused before picking up their phone whilst driving'

It was then, when he lookedRead More – Source

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