Lorry driver jailed for eight years for killing two during crash when he was playing mobile games at the wheel

Ellen Manning
·2 mins read
Lorry driver James Majury (left) was playing on apps and games on his phone when he was involved in a crash that killed two people, including Anne Kerr and Joe Cairns (right). (PA)
Lorry driver James Majury (left) was playing on apps and games on his phone when he was involved in a crash that killed two people, including Anne Kerr and Joe Cairns (right). (PA)

A lorry driver has been jailed after he killed two people by crashing into them while using his mobile phone at the wheel.

James Majury, 33, using apps including medieval fantasy game Hustle Castle, Sky Sports and Facebook as well as sending messages from the moment he set off on his journey to around 45 minutes later when his HGV was involved in a multi-vehicle collision on the M58 at Bickerstaffe, Lancashire, in January 2019.

One of the vehicles struck was a minibus carrying pupils and staff from Pontville School, a special educational needs school in Ormskirk.

Pupil Joe Cairns, 14, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, and staff member Anne Kerr, 50, from Southport, died from their injuries.

The aftermath of the crash caused by James Majury. (Lancashire Constabulary/PA Images)
The aftermath of the crash caused by James Majury. (Lancashire Constabulary/PA Images)

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

He was jailed for eight years and 10 months at Preston Crown Court, where relatives watched his sentencing.

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.

A scene photo of the crash. (Lancashire Constabulary/PA Images)
A scene photo of the crash. (Lancashire Constabulary/PA Images)

“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.”

In a previous hearing, both prosecution and defence agreed that Majury had showed a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road, putting his actions at the most serious end of the scale for such offending.

James Ageros QC, defending, said at the time that he had expressed his “profound remorse and regret for his actions”.

In a tribute to Joe Cairns, his parents Steph and Andy Cairns described the 14-year-old as “a true fighter with a heart of gold”, saying he had: “an amazing sense of humour and infectious smile” and was “a true superhero”.

Mrs Kerr’s family said: “Anne was much loved by all who knew her. She will be deeply missed by all her friends and family.

“She was a daughter, wife, and mum to two lovely boys. She was a lovely personality to be around. Her death has left us all heartbroken.”