M5 Crash: Police Probe Cause Of Pile-Up
Police investigating one of the worst British motorway crashes in memory are focusing their attention on a rugby club fireworks event held close to the site, as more tributes are paid to the victims.
Officers said the theory that smoke from the display had drifted on to the M5 in Somerset and caused the 34-vehicle pile-up which claimed seven lives and left 51 injured is now their "main line of inquiry".
The revelation came as elderly couple Anthony and Pamela Adams, from Newport, South Wales, were named locally as being among the victims of Friday's pile-up.
The Reverend Andrew Willie told the congregation at St Mark's Church, where the couple attended, that they had died. He said Mr Adams, who was a church reader and former warden, and his wife, who was involved in parish activities, "will be sorely missed".
Avon and Somerset Police are yet to confirm the identities of any of the seven victims, but revealed they are now conducting a criminal, as well as a road policing, investigation. On Sunday night the stricken section of motorway, which had been closed since Friday night's tragedy, was reopened.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the crash has left a young woman in a coma and her wheelchair-bound father and sister dead. Emma Barton, believed to be 19, was said to have been travelling in a car with her boyfriend Christopher Burbull, father Michael and sister Maggie when they were caught up in the chaos.
Reports suggest the group had been to a funeral and were returning to the Barton family home in Windsor, Berkshire. Mr Burbull, of Slough, Berks, was also admitted to hospital following the crash, it was said.
Another possible casualty was named as Malcolm Beacham, from Woolavington in Somerset, who is said to be the event co-ordinator of a re-enactment group. One comment, left on the Living History website by a user named Martin, said: "For those that had the privilege of knowing him Malcolm was a fantastic guy, a true stalwart of the re-enactment community from The Company Of Chivalry, he was involved in the accident on the M5 on Friday, you will be sorely missed m8."
Lorry driver Terry Brice from Bristol was also named in reports as being among the victims. A Twitter post, believed to be made by his teenage daughter Jessica, said: "rest in peace daddy, i love you so much, you will never be forgotten, not a day will go by where i wont hope you'll walk through that door."
Police said witnesses had reported "significant smoke" across the carriageway that was "impossible to drive through". Taunton Rugby Club announced in a statement that it is "working closely with Avon and Somerset Police to assist with their investigations".