Coventry & Warwickshire

MPs query firefighter charges over warehouse deaths

Clockwise from top left: Ashley Stephens, Darren Yates-Badley, Ian Reid, John Averis
Image caption Three of the men died in the building, while the fourth died in hospital

Warwickshire's MPs have written to the attorney general with concerns after three firefighters were charged over the deaths of four colleagues.

Paul Simmons, Adrian Ashley and Timothy Woodward have been charged with manslaughter by gross negligence over a warehouse fire in Atherstone, in 2007.

Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright said he was concerned about the impact on emergency services staff.

He said he wanted to make sure the case had been reviewed at the highest level.

'Highest level'

Stratford-on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi, Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White, Nuneaton MP Marcus Jones and North Warwickshire and Bedworth MP Dan Byles have also written to Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

"We do not seek to question the independent judgement made by the Crown Prosecution Service, but, given the wider significance of the decision to prosecute, we do believe that such a decision should have been considered and reviewed at the highest level of the CPS," Mr Wright said.

He said Mr Grieve had been asked to "satisfy himself" that had been done.

The case, in which Ian Reid, John Averis, Ashley Stephens and Darren Yates-Badley all died, has been adjourned until 12 August. The firefighters have not yet entered a plea.

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