Horror scene on M6

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TWO Wigan men were killed instantly after being hit by a HGV lorry on the hard shoulder of the M6.

Philip Cawley, 39, from Ashton and 69-year-old Thomas (Tommy) Southward, from Haydock, had been changing a tyre on their vehicle on the northbound hard shoulder between Junction 17 and 18 on September 9, 2010, when the tragedy happened.Chester Crown Court was told that heavy goods driver Malcom Simpson, 62, from Selby, East Yorkshire, denies two charges of causing death by dangerous driving, and two of causing death by careless driving.

The trial will hear defence claims that he suffered a “medical episode” while at the wheel of his HGV which will be dismissed by the prosecution as a “red herring”.

Mr Cawley left a wife and young daughter, while Mr Southward was married with three adult daughters and five grandchildren.

The ashen-faced relatives were led from the court while graphic CCTV film of the accident was shown to the jury.

The men had been travelling in separate tow trucks from Stoke, taking cars to an auction in Haydock when the accident occurred.

Outling the case, prosecuting counsel Simon Parry said that a punctured tyre on one of the vehicles started a “terrible chain of events that had ended in tragedy.”

The two men pulled over on to the hard shoulder to change a wheel and within minutes were dead from horrendous multiple injuries after being struck by the Scania HGV being driven by Simpson.

Mr Parry said: “HGVs are probably the most potentially lethal form of transport travelling on our motorway network and the public have the right to expect a greater degree of care and responsibility from those driving them.

“It is the prosecution’s case that Simpson’s driving fell far below the expected standards of competence.”

He told the jury they will hear from witness Darren Moran, a fellow HGV driver whose truck had been following Simpson’s down the M6, and who saw him make an illegal manoeuvre, putting two wheels into the fast (third) lane.

“He then saw Simpson’s truck – which was taking a container load from Felixstowe Docks to Ashton under Lyne – drift on to the hard shoulder moments before the fatal impact, before returning to its proper position.

Mr Parry added: “You will hear Mr Moran describe how he saw half of the width of the lorry driven by Simpson, again move onto the hard shoulder.

“He sounded his horn as loudly as he could because he could see people ahead on the hard shoulder. In his head he says it was like a scene from the film Final Destination, because he could see what was going to happen in the immediate future.”

The case, being heard by the Recorder of Chester, His Honour Elgin Edwards, is expected to last three days.