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Driving offences involving death

The main types of driving offences involving fatalities are 'dangerous' driving and 'careless or inconsiderate' driving. The driver's behaviour is what is important, not what the driver believes. Someone may be committing a dangerous driving offence even though they believe they are driving safely.

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Lorry driver guilty of causing deaths of family of six


A lorry driver's inattention caused an horrific accident which wiped out an entire family including four children, said CPS Cheshire Chief Crown Prosecutor Ian Rushton.

A jury at Chester Crown Court found Paulo Da Silva guilty of six counts of causing death by careless driving.

Mr Rushton said: "This is a tragic case where Michelle and David Statham died in a terrible car accident with their four children, Reece, Jay, Mason and Ellouise.

"The prosecution had to prove that not only did Mr Da Silva's driving fall below the required standard, but as a direct result he killed the whole family in their car on the M6."

Evidence that Cheshire Police gathered showed that the Statham's car was crushed between a large lorry, which had been queuing in a long tailback due to an earlier accident, and Paulo Da Silva's lorry.

The jury heard both the prosecution and defence case and decided that Paulo Da Silva's driving was careless. They therefore acquitted him of six counts of causing death by dangerous driving, which is the more serious offence.

Mr Rushton said: "Da Silva  admitted in court that he had seen the electronic signs warning that the M6 was closed ahead and that queues were likely. He said that he reduced his speed but could not explain how the collision happened.

"The prosecution said that it was clear that for a period of around a minute, Paulo Da Silva was not paying proper attention to the road and fatally hit the Stathams' van with his 40-tonne lorry.

"We would like to thank the work of Cheshire Police who carried out a thorough investigation and all the witnesses who gave evidence in that case. Our thought are with the family and friends of Mrs and Mr Statham and their children."


  1. Paulo Da Silva was charged with six counts of causing death by dangerous driving and six counts of an alternative charge of causing death by careless driving.
  2. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8079.
  3. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  4. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 85.1% in 2007-2008.

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