Lorry driver admits causing deaths of four day-trippers on way home from Southend

Remembered - A lorry driver has admitted to causing the deaths of four day-trippers on their way home from Southend. (Clockwise from top left) Jennifer Smith, Dexter Augustus, Abigael Muamba, and Lisa Gardiner <i>(Image: Essex Police/Stock)</i>
Remembered - A lorry driver has admitted to causing the deaths of four day-trippers on their way home from Southend. (Clockwise from top left) Jennifer Smith, Dexter Augustus, Abigael Muamba, and Lisa Gardiner (Image: Essex Police/Stock)

A LORRY driver who killed four day-trippers on their way home from Southend when he ploughed into a stationary minibus has admitted causing their deaths.

Ethan Burdett, 67, of Ipswich Haven Marina, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to causing the death of four people due to careless driving when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on April 16.

Roads Policing officers were called to the fatal collision on the M25 in Waltham Abbey shortly after 6.15pm on August 23, 2021 after a lorry had collided with a minibus - causing four deaths.

31-year-old Abigael Muamba from Edmonton Green, 60-year-old Dexter Augustus from Waltham Forest and 59-year-old Jennifer Smith from Stratford all died in the collision.

Lisa Gardiner, 44, from Walthamstow, later died of her injuries.

Further, of the 11 passengers in the minibus - which was returning to London following a day trip to Southend - four passengers were seriously injured while three additional passengers as well and the driver of the Mondeo all sustained minor injuries.

Echo: Smile - The parents of 31-year-old Abigael Muamba said they missed her 'smile and dedication'
Echo: Smile - The parents of 31-year-old Abigael Muamba said they missed her 'smile and dedication'

Smile - The parents of 31-year-old Abigael Muamba said they missed her 'smile and dedication' (Image: Essex Police)

The parents of Ms Muamba said they missed her 'smile and dedication' and they would always remember her 'helpful heart and youthful spirit'.

Echo: Vivacious - The family of Dexter Augustus said his 'vivacious energy made him the life and soul of every gathering'
Echo: Vivacious - The family of Dexter Augustus said his 'vivacious energy made him the life and soul of every gathering'

Vivacious - The family of Dexter Augustus said his 'vivacious energy made him the life and soul of every gathering' (Image: Essex Police)

Dexter Augustus' family described him as "a dearly loved son, brother, father, grandfather and friend to everyone that knew him' with "a vivacious energy" that "made him the life and soul of every gathering'.

Echo: Loved - Jennifer Smith's family said she was 'loved beyond words'
Echo: Loved - Jennifer Smith's family said she was 'loved beyond words'

Loved - Jennifer Smith's family said she was 'loved beyond words' (Image: Essex Police)

While Jennifer Smith described as "loved beyond words" left behind a daughter, two sons and five grandchildren.

Meanwhile, Lisa Gardiner was described as a 'beautiful wife and mother', according to her family.

Echo: Heart - The family of Lisa Gardiner said she had a big heart which knew no bounds
Echo: Heart - The family of Lisa Gardiner said she had a big heart which knew no bounds

Heart - The family of Lisa Gardiner said she had a big heart which knew no bounds (Image: Essex Police)

An investigation by the Serious Collision Investigation Unit established that as Ethan Burdett approached the exit slip road to junction 26, he failed to react to stationary traffic queuing in lane 1 and collided with the rear of the minibus which shunted forward and struck a car.

Roads Policing officer Detective Inspector Mark Fraser, who led the investigation said: “My thoughts, and those of all my officers who have been involved in the investigation, continue to be with the families and friends who lost their loved ones that evening.”

Following the conviction, Ethan Burdett will be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on July 4.