Lorry driver who killed eight people in M1 crash ‘had no licence and was asleep in slow lane for 12 minutes’

Andy Wells
Ryszard Masierak is alleged to have been asleep in his lorry for 12 minutes in the slow lane before the accident (PA)

The lorry driver accused of killing eight people on the M1 was allegedly asleep inside the truck for over 12 minutes before the horror incident took place.

Ryszard Masierak had his licence to drive heavy good revoked before the fatal crash last month which was described as the worst motorway tragedy for 25 years.

The 31-year-old was found to be over the drink-drive limit and asleep inside the truck on the slow lane for 12-and-a-half minutes.

Masierak gave a reading of 55mg of alcohol in a 100ml sample of breath, magistrates were previously told – the legal limit is 35mg per 100ml of breath.

Masierak had been remanded in custody ever since the lorry he was driving was involved in the crash with a minibus and another lorry that killed eight people.

Another four were left fighting for their lives.

In a bail hearing, Judge Francis Sheridan heard that Masierak’s licence to drive his articulated lorry had been revoked, although his employers’ were not informed.

Prosecutor Nigel Ogborne told the court in Aylesbury, Bucks.: ”At the time of this offence VOSA [Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, which was replaced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency ( DVSA ) in 2014] had revoked his HGV licence.”

Masierak was found to be over the drink-drive limit (Rex/stock photo)

He added: “Just to give you some background, we know that the defendant was stationary in lane one [at the time].

“He was in the slow lane, there for 12-and-a-half minutes. The other lorry came up behind.

“We can go no further at this stage because his co-defendant and those that represent him are not here.”

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Mr Ogborne also revealed that the address Maseriak provided to police was being sub-let and his supposed landlord did not know who he was.

“The address which he has provided looks like it has been sub-let by someone. The landlord does not know this man as his tenant.”

Judge Sheridan refused bail for Maseriak and adjourned a plea and trial preparation hearing for six weeks so that the families of the dead had time to bury their loved ones.

The crash on the M1 motorway claimed the lives of eight people (Rex/stock photo)

He said: ”I am not going to grant bail in this case.

“This is the most serious road traffic collision which has come before the courts certainly in the last 10 years and the flight risk is enormous.

“The position is that this man was asleep for 12-and-a-half minutes in his articulated lorry in the inside lane, not the hard shoulder, and he was already in excess of the legal limit for driving.

“VOSA has revoked his licence and sent paperwork to his last address. Of course his employers weren’t aware and they are not to blame. However, I refuse bail.”

He added: “I have been told by counsel in chambers that the families of the many deceased would like time to bury their loved ones and this is only right – this is, after all, England – so I am going to adjourn pre-trial preparation hearings for both defendants for a period of six weeks.”

Eight people were killed when a Ford Transit minibus, driving in the same lane as the one where Masierak had stopped, tried to switch lanes to move around his Scania lorry but there was a crash involving a second lorry, a Mercedes Benz, a court previously heard.

Vivek Baskeran was one of the victims of the horror crash (SWNS)

Masierak later gave a reading of 55mg of alcohol in a 100ml sample of breath, magistrates were told.

The legal limit is 35mg per 100ml of breath.

The crash, involving two lorries and a minibus, took place at around 3.15am on the southbound carriageway, near Newport Pagnell, Bucks, killing six men and two men.

The fatalities included father-of-two Cyriac Joseph, 52, a minibus driver and owner of Nottingham-based ABC Travels.

Mr Joseph, also known as Benny, had been driving a group of Indian visitors to London, who were due to start a tour of Europe.

Three of the others killed – Karthikeyan Ramasubramaniyam Pugalur, Rishi Rajeev Kumar, and Vivek Bhaskaran – worked for IT firm Wipro.

A fourth colleague, Mano Ranjan Panneerselvam, was injured in the collision, the company said.

Maseriak and co-defendent, David Wagstaff, have been charged with eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

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