M6 crash driver denies death charge

24/07 Updated: 25/07 15:25

Buy photos » Accused: Robert Booth. Picture courtesy of News Team.

A LORRY driver has denied causing the death of four-year-old girl on the M6.

Robert Booth appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Tuesday when it was alleged he ploughed into the rear of a line of stationary traffic in his lorry, shunting four cars.

Priyanka Bhogal, from Coventry, who was travelling in her family’s Vauxhall Zafira, was killed and seven other people were injured in the crash which led to the motorway being closed for more than six hours.

It happened between junctions 4a and 4 near Monkspath at just after midnight on November 27 last year.

Booth, 63, with two members of his family in court while Priyanka’s family watched from the public gallery, spoke only to confirm his name and to enter his not guilty plea to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

He will stand trial early next year.

Ian Mullarkey, defending, told the court: "There is a combination of difficulties. Mr Booth has some difficulty in recollecting the precise events leading up to the collision."

Mr Mullarkey said the defence planned to instruct a psychiatrist to look at whether that was a consequence of the collision itself or for some other reason.

He also said expert evidence served by the prosecution would need to be reviewed as would the position of motorway gantries and the messages displayed on them.

Prosecutor Nigel Wilkins said CCTV recordings from both carriageways did not show the incident itself but did show the build-up of traffic.

Booth, of Brockley Street, Town End Farm in Sunderland, was granted unconditional bail until the trial which will start on February 4 and last for four days.

Buy photos»Victim: Priyanka Bhogal. Picture courtesy of News Team.

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