Mum of boy, 14, killed by 'mindless' lorry driver distracted by Facebook tells of 'living nightmare without my hero'

THE MUM of a teenage boy killed in a motorway crash by a distracted lorry driver has told of her "living nightmare".

Steph Cairns gave an emotional tribute at Preston Crown Court to son, Joe, 14, who died in a crash on the M58 motorway in Lancashire last January.

The minibus he was travelling in was hit from behind by a HGV driven by James Majury, 33, who earlier this year admitted causing Joe's death by dangerous driving.

He also pleaded guilty over the death of school support worker Anne Kerr, 50, who was also killed in the crash.

In an emotional tribute, Steph said: "It's going to be a living nightmare without my hero, my boy Joe."

Joe's dad Andrew told the court: "Its murder in my eyes."

Majury, of Milton Road, Coppull, Chorley, had opened a number of apps during his journey including game Hustle Castle and Sky Sports News, as well as sending text messages to his mum.

He accessed the Facebook app less than a minute before his Mercedes Arocs, laden with scaffolding, ploughed into the back of a nine-seater minibus carrying pupils and staff from Pontville School, a special educational needs facility in Ormskirk.

Devastated mum Steph blasted Majury as "selfish and utterly mindless" and said she wanted him to "see my hurt".

Steph added: "To an extent he's taken my other children's mum away because I know I'm not the same anymore and I don't think I'll ever be the same again without Joe in my life."

Steph said Joe, who had autism, had a "wicked sense of humour", and added sometimes she thinks about him laughing "because it was so infectious and made me smile, it made everybody smile".

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said Majury had been "more engaged with Facebook" than the road ahead – and showed "total disregard" for the rules of the road.

The prosecutor said: "He had effectively unleashed a 19.2-tonne battering ram on the M58 with devastating effect on the lives of his victims."

Five other people were seriously injured in the multi-vehicle crash which lifted a Ford Transit van over an embankment.

Before the crash at 8.42am, there were warning signs of a lane closure on the approaching exit slip road and there was an obvious build-up of queuing traffic.

Majury remained at the scene following the crash and tried to help free the injured from the minibus, but also attempted to minimise his culpability, said Mr McEntee.

He added: "He attributed the collision to a momentary lapse of judgement and told one person 'I took my eyes off the road for a second'."

Majury maintained that account in a later prepared statement to police, but gave no comment after the findings of an examination of his mobile phone and the lorry's tachograph were presented to him, the court was told.

During his journey from work about 30 minutes earlier, he first sent a text message to Radio 1 while travelling at 1mph and then opened the Sky Sports News app while stationary in traffic.

It could not be said how the app was used but it was reactivated 10 minutes later when Majury unlocked his phone with a six-digit pin while travelling at about 55mph on the M6, the court heard.

Five minutes later he replied to a text message from his mother while still travelling at the same speed, and then launched the Hustle Castle strategy game app moments later.

He went on to engage in a six-minute hands-free phone conversation with his partner before he unlocked his phone again a minute before the crash and sent another message to his mum before opening Facebook.

Majury slammed on his brakes just half a second before hitting the minibus, the court heard.

Mrs Kerr's husband Simon said she was a "caring and compassionate person who put the needs of others before her own".

He said: "I put on a fake smile for others but behind that face I am overwhelmed by what has happened. It is a reoccurring nightmare. I am a broken man."

He added: "There are no winners for anybody involved in this. I hope that people will remember this and think about the devastation that has been caused before picking up their phone whilst driving."

Majury will be sentenced on Friday.

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