Lorry driver pleads guilty in M6 dangerous driving tragedy

Anthony Marston stopped his Mercedes E300 estate, which was towing a trailer loaded with a Peugeot Partner van, between junctions 10 for Wolverhampton and 10a for the M54 on August 21 last year. Minutes later a Scania R450 lorry being driven by 30-year-old Michael Preston smashed into the trailer and Mr Marston was caught between it and his Mercedes. He suffered multiple severe injuries from which he died.

The crash took place on a section of the motorway where there is no hard shoulder. On Wednesday, Preston pleaded guilty to causing Mr Marston’s death by dangerous driving. But his sentence was put off until September – partly as the police are still investigating if and how Preston was using his mobile phone at the time of the crash.

Mr Matthew Brook, prosecuting, said: “The police enquiries in relation to Mr Preston’s use of his mobile phone at the time of the incident are continuing. “The enquiries will take the officer in the case a further six weeks which takes us until August 23. “I ask we have until that point to serve any additional evidence in this case in relation to sentence, in relation to his mobile phone.”

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A pre-inquest hearing in December heard Mr Marston, aged 54, from Leegomery, Telford, had been working as a courier and had stopped to check his trailer. Preston, of Matlock Avenue,Dawley, Telford, was visibly upset on Wednesday as he entered his guilty plea. Judge John Wait, said: “You have pleaded guilty today and you will receive the appropriate credit for that in due course.

“I am confident you will have been advised as to the likely sentence you will receive which will inevitably involve custody.

Advertising “But it is apparent you should have the opportunity of having a report from the probation service and any other information you wish to put before the court before sentence is passed.” Mr Peter Cooper, defending, said: “In relation to Mr Preston’s driving there is no basis of plea.

“If there is further information presented to us in due course we will have to deal with that.” In a moving tribute released following the crash, Mr Marston’s family said: “Tony was a loving father to Laura and Luke and husband to Sue. “He lived life to the full.

He was one of life’s original characters who will be deeply missed by all who knew him.”

Preston was granted conditional bail after Wednesday’s hearing and given an interim driving disqualification with immediate effect.

He will be sentenced on September 15 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

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