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Smoke 'not to blame' for motorway crash that killed Windsor dad and daughter

Smoke 'not to blame' for motorway crash that killed Windsor dad and daughter

Francis Batt

Smoke 'not to blame' for motorway crash that killed Windsor dad and daughter
Emma and Chris survived the crash
A coroner has ruled that firework smoke was not to blame for the tragic death of Windsor man Michael Barton, 67 and his daughter Maggie, 30 in the M5 pile-up that killed seven people.

Maggie's sister Emma Barton, 20 at the time, was left in a coma but made a remarkable recovery and married her boyfriend Chris Burbull, who was also injured in the accident.

The pile-up happened near Taunton, Somerset on November 4, 2011. Michael and Maggie lived at Cinnamon Close, Windsor. 

The pile-up happened near a firework display at a rugby club and initial reports suggested that smoke from the display may have contributed to the accident, although thick fog was also reported on the motorway.

The display's organiser Geoffrey Counsell was subsequently cleared of 'health and safety' charges.

Today, after an inquest lasting two and a half weeks West Somerset coroner Michael Rose dismissed smoke as being the cause of the crash, although he said: "I cannot exclude the possibility that smoke may have added to the intensity of the reduced visibility."

The inquest had heard from a railway driver on a line close to the display, who said he could only see a few feet in front of him although he passed before the fireworks began. The coroner said: "There were in the Taunton area pockets of very dense fog - in some cases of such density that only occur once or maybe twice in a decade."

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