UPDATE: Evidence heard at trial of lorry drivers accused of killing eight people near Milton Keynes

The scene at the time of the crash
The scene at the time of the crash

A police investigation into the collision found Maseriak was driving erratically before stopping his lorry in the slow lane of the M1 with the lights on, the court heard. Wagstaff had 10 seconds to see Mr Joseph’s ‘baulked’ minibus and avoid it.

“The view presenting itself to Mr Wagstaff comprised not only the minibus’ flashing hazard lights but also the rear of Mr Maseriak’s lorry - extending above the minibus,” said Mr Saxby.

“Notwithstandig which, Mr Wagstaff ploughed straight into the minibus - without braking or decelerating. In other words, he simply did not see the minibus, or at least appreciate that it was stationary. Presumably because he was not concentrating.”

The prosecutor told the jury that taxi driver Ali Ilias and his two passengers were some of the first to arrive at the scene of carnage on the M1.

The three of them got out of the taxi to help, only to be confronted with a catastrophic scene.

“It was quickly obvious to Mr Ilias, both that there were fatalities and that there were occupants alive but in need of urgent medical attention,” said Mr Saxby.

Concerned there might be a fuel leak, Mr Ilias walked to the front of Maseriak’s lorry only to see the Polish man in his darkened cab with his head in his hands. The jury heard that Mr Ilias asked if he was okay to which he replied: “Yes. Can I go?”

Mr Saxby told the jury: “Mr Ilias said he could not go because there had been an accident and asked him to step down from the cab. Mr Maseriak declined, adding that he had been asleep - or words to that effect.

“Mr Ilias could smell alcohol on Mr Maseriak and thought he was drunk. ‘It was almost as if nothing had happened and he had been dreaming’, Mr Ilias told the police in his statement.”

Paramedics and police arrived at the scene near Newport Pagnall, Bucks., who spoke to Maseriak, who by this time had got out of his cab and was standing in front of the lorry.

The court heard that Maseriak initially pretended to officers that he was not the driver of the lorry. Police carried out a search of his cab where they found two empty cans of cider, the jury was told.

He was arrested later that morning and told officers: “I don’t remember what happened.”

The jury heard how Fed-Ex driver Wagstaff told officers at the scene that the collision was his fault and he had “hit the back of all of them.”

Mr Saxby said: “Then, in trying to assist the officer with what had happened, he said this: ‘It was my fault. They appeared to be stationary and I ploughed into the back of them without touching the brakes at all’.”

The jury was told how Wagstaff reacted when formally arrested and taken to hospital for his minor injuries, including a broken toe, damage to his knees and bruising to his ribs.

Mr Saxby said: “At the hospital he [Mr Wagstaff] was always in the presence of a police officer - to whom he made these remarks: ‘I know I’m going to prison. I’ve seen it enough. I was on the phone to my mate at the time, I was on Bluetooth. My phone was in a cradle but I know I’m bu**ered’.”

The trial continues.