Inquests were opened this morning (Tuesday) into the deaths of the eight people killed in a crash on M1 in Newport Pagnell.
The six men and two women, who were from Indian families, were travelling in a minibus that was in a crash with two lorries at 3.15am on Saturday August 26th.
They were heading from Nottingham to London, where they were to catch the Eurostar to France, when the crash happened on the southbound carriageway close to junction 14 at Newport Pagnell.
Four other people who were in the minibus remain in hospital. A man in his 30s is in a critical condition. A four-year-old girl, a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 50s remain in a serious but stable condition.
In a hearing at The Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keynes, the city’s senior coroner Tom Osborne formally opened the inquests and released the bodies to their families.
Those who died were:
Cyriac Joseph, 52, a father-of-two, who was the minibus driver and owner who lived in Nottingham.
Panneerselvam Annamalai, 63 and Subramaniyan Arachelvan, 58.
The two women who died were: Tamilmani Arachelvan, 50 and Lavanyalakshmi Seetharaman, 32.
Three IT workers with Wipro, a Nottingham-based company: Rishi Rajeev Kumar, 27, Vivek Bhaskaran, 26, Karthikeyan Pugalur Ramasubramanian, 33.
Their colleague Mano Ranjan Panneerselvam was named as the man who was critically injured.
Those who died were Catholics from the Malayali community from Kerala in southern India. There are 180 to 200 Malayali families in Nottingham.
The coroner’s officer Frederick Howe said an articulated lorry was stationary in lane one, the minibus slowed and stopped and a second lorry pushed into the rear of the minibus. Four people were taken to hospital and the remaining eight in the minibus died.
The cause of death of all the victims was given as multiple injuries. They were identified via their fingerprints.
The coroner said: “I have signed the mortuary release forms for the bodies to be repatriated to India.
“The inquest is suspended until proceedings in crown court are concluded.”
He added: “I would like to thank all those involved in recovering and identifying the dead who worked tirelessly to return them to families as soon as possible.
“My condolences and sympathy to the families for this tragic accident.”
A Polish lorry driver, Ryszard Masierak, aged 31, has been remanded in custody charged with causing the death of the 8 people by dangerous driving. He was in the lorry that had stopped.
In addition, Mr Masierak of Barnards Close, Evesham, Worcestershire, is accused of four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and eight counts of causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit. He allegedly gave a reading of 55 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath - the legal limit for driving is 35.
He is due to appear at Aylesbury crown court on September 26.
The other lorry driver David Wagstaff, aged 53, of Derwent Street, Stoke-on-Trent, has been charged with eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He has been bailed to appear at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court on Monday, September 11.
Outside the coroner’s court Mathew John, Mr Joseph’s cousin, said: “It has been tragic for the family. A memorial mass is being prepared for Friday or Saturday. The plan is to repatriate the bodies at the end of the week or early next week.”