Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Family's anger over crash sentence

Angela Statham (left) with Carole and Peter Hagans leave Chester Crown Court
David Statham's mother Angela (left) with Carole and Peter Hagans leave Chester Crown Court after the sentence

Relatives of a family of six who were killed in a horrific crash on the M6 said they had not received justice.

Lorry driver Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva, 46, was jailed for three years for causing the deaths of the Statham family by careless driving.

He was cleared of dangerous driving.

David and Michelle Statham and their four children, from Llandudno, Conwy, were killed in their people carrier.

Mrs Statham's father Peter Hagans called the trial "a circus".

At a news conference after the verdict at Chester Crown Court, Mr Hagans said: "I think, from the night of the accident, when Mr Da Silva butchered our family, which I believe he did, it was not possible for us to get justice in any British court.

One driver's failure to recognise his responsibility to driver's simple failure to pay attention
Supt Guy Hindle, Cheshire Police

"It's my opinion that we've sat through this week, what could be described as not much more than a circus, the only difference being the man in charge of a circus wears a top hat not a wig.

"Our lives have been devastated, nothing will ever be the same for us, our hearts have been broken," Mr Hagans said.

Da Silva was convicted of six counts of causing death by careless driving by a majority verdict of 11-1. But he was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Alan Moult, David Statham's uncle, said: "Although we are disappointed with the verdict given we leave this court with our heads held high.

"Although we will never stop grieving we can now begin to live again.

David Statham and his wife Michelle (top left) with their four children Jay (top right), Mason (bottom left); Reece, 13, and Ellouise (bottom right)
The Statham family were killed when their car burst into flames

"Two weeks ago we should have been celebrating Mason's second birthday, but instead we were just reminded of the loss, sadness and grief that we have now been left with.

"A day doesn't go by that we don't think about them. We have constant reminders of memories.

"It could be a photograph, a song, a film or even a comment by a family [member] or friend. For a short while we smile but then it is replaced by emptiness and sorrow.

"David and Michelle were a fun-loving couple who adored their family. Their memories will live on forever, especially on birthdays and anniversaries."

Mr Moult also spoke of the extended family's other young children Chloe and Sophie.

He added: "When the pictures of David, Michelle and the children were shown on television Chloe instantly recognised them and went up and kissed the screen. Sophie then followed.

"How do you explain to a two-and-a-half and a three-and-a-half year old what has happened and why they will never see them again?"

Supt Guy Hindle, from Cheshire Police, said: "This tragedy is not about foreign lorry drivers on British roads. It is about a dreadful crash that wiped out a generation of one family and was due to one driver's gross inattention.

"One driver's failure to recognise his responsibility to others; one driver's failure to see the potential magnitude of his actions when in control of an HGV; one driver's simple failure to pay attention."

Supt Hindle was asked what lessons could be learned from the tragedy.

He replied: "[For] Anybody who drives on the roads, let alone a motorway, the lessons learned from this is inattention can be fatal, magnified by driving a vehicle of that nature.

"We can all pay more attention when we drive."

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