14/11/2011 Inside Out London


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Hello and welcome to Inside Out South West.


Tonight, we report into the ongoing investigation into the M5 crash. We


have remarkable new testimony from those involved in one of Britain's


worst ever motorway pile-ups. was like stepping on to a movie set.


It wasn't real. 10 days on, the questions are still being asked.


can't believe you can have a firework display so close to a


motorway. Also tonight, Jonathan Foyle


uncovers the strange story behind the monument that towers above St.


Ives. That is dramatic. This is As the police continue their


investigation into the M5 crash, we've been hearing remarkable


testimony from those involved. was getting up to speed and a head,


I noticed a white wall. I said, that is the thickest fog I have


ever seen. The lorries hit cars in front of us and we could here bang,


bang, bang from behind as well. It was hell. It was the worst noise


running through your head, just screams of people, not knowing what


to do first. The next thing was as if somebody had thrown a black


blanket over the windscreen. It went jet-black.


And Inside Out can reveal that no fog warnings were displayed on the


M5's electronic signs at the time of the accident, despite forecasts


and reports of poor visibility that night. BBC viewers had been warned


of fog and so had the Highways Agency. At 4 o'clock, its website


was sent a forecast of fog and mist at the Met Office. These conditions


were experienced by eyewitness, Rob Weaving. There were small patches


of foregone water on the ground, it was not raining heavily. Despite


this, no warnings were displayed on the M5. We asked the Highways


Agency, which controls the electronic boards, why? It said it


had received no reports of adverse weather on any of its roads. And it


said its control centre had been given advice by the Met Office that


"did not highlight fog as a potential hazard" at the time of


the crash. At around 8.15 that evening, a fireworks display at


Taunton Rugby Club ended. A police investigation is ongoing into


whether smoke from that played any part in the accident. Whatever the


cause, for Ciara and Roger Neno there was no warning of what was to


come as they joined the motorway at junction 25. We pulled on to the M


five and we were getting up to speed behind an Icelander truck in


the middle lane, when we rolled into a wall of a very sudden, very,


very thick, what appeared to be fog. It was like somebody had thrown a


hood over the windscreen of a car. You could not see a thing. Almost


as soon as that had happened, I could see the truck, but it was


stationery. I was closing fast from about 80 metres, closing quite


quickly, and having to break very sharply. I literally stood on the


brakes. I was thinking, we are not going to stop. But we did. We


stopped about two, from my memory, about 10 feet to spare. The lorries


had cars in front of us and we could hear bang, bang, buying from


behind as well. It was rhythmical. It was just like a beach. -- beta.


I turned to cure and said, we are going to get hit. -- cure. Based on


post crash pictures, we've tried to indicate what happened in the


aftermath of the accident. The vehicles represented may not be


exactly where they ended up immediately after the crash. The


Nenos were in the very first phase of the collision, and Ciara was one


of the first to dial 999. I said, we need ambulance, fire brigade and


police. I said this is not just a small crash, there are many, many


crashes and I can see fire. Then came the second phase of the crash.


A lorry jack-knifed behind them, protecting the couple from impact.


After probably 90 seconds, they said, I'm not sitting here any


longer, I have got to see what I can do. That is when I stepped out


of the car. It was like stepping on to a movie set. You just don't


figure is real for a minute. Just mangled bits of metal everywhere


and I can hear the music from the rugby club, and I just keep


thinking, God, they have no idea what is going on appear. Roger saw


two men trapped in the car directly in front of him, he borrowed a tyre


lever from a truck driver. I ran back and told the guy in the seat


to turn away, and I smashed the window. It smashed first time. I


pulled him out. The chapel on the other side was very dazed. He was


in a worse way. We said, move over, we will get you out. We couldn't


open his door because he was at the barrier. He said, why, I'm OK? I


said look, you engine is gone and a car is smoking, it might go up in


flames, you need to get out. We pulled him out. Tom Hamill, his


girlfriend Catherine and Dad, had pulled up behind the jack-knifed


lorry. They too were remarkably lucky not to have been hit. I just


remember sat there and Thomas was like, we are going to get hit,


brace yourselves. We heard and saw to the left, cars just crashing in.


Someone shouted, please, take my baby, take my baby, my husband is


trapped in a car, take my baby. dialled 999, standing at the


central reservation, as more cars were crashing into the back of us.


I remember they call handler saying, how many cars? I kept saying,


there's more! In this third phase of the crash, Matt and Michelle


Craker, their son Fred and three dogs, ended up wedged on the hard


shoulder between a lorry and the crash barrier. We got out and the


van and straight away in front, I could see flames. Not coming from


us, not the car in front, but it seemed about 10 feet away, big


flames. There was fire. I remember before I actually descended the


bank, the lorry was well alight, looking to the right, the Roads


Service was on fire. There had obviously been a fuel spill. The


last image of looking at the van was from the bottom of the


embankments, looking up. The cab of the vans had flames in it so the


fire had spread through the lorry, into the van. That is really within


a matter of minutes a bus coming to a halt. A dash of us. The other


side of the blazing lorry, Roger Neno followed a young woman's cries


for help. Her car was pinned under the jack-knifed lorry. I thought


the car -- the fire would spread underneath and it would not take


long. I jumped over. The front door or was slightly ajar or at the top.


They were not move. I told her to move back and Swanley Aaron at the


window and on the 4th attempt it broke. -- I swung the Arran. I


pulled right. I was trying to keep her calm and not panic so as not to


panic her. I was thinking, it is raining, drizzle is all we need,


but there is this strong smell of fuel and the residual all over the


floor. As I was doing this I saw the lady... The Lou DiBella was


pained by her legs under the back wheel. -- the lady that was pained.


She was pinned under the lorry. She was screaming, help, get me out. I


was fearful that she would lie there and burn as well. With no


chance of releasing her, Roger ran for help, returning with an off-


duty doctor and one of the fire crews which were now arriving


Despite the fireball, the woman was saved. I could see Roger going


towards the car. There was a huge fireball behind. It just exploded


and I screamed at him, get out! I've got everything was could go up.


Despite a fireball, the woman was saved. Roger and Ciara spent hours


at the scene helping with the relief effort. The time between the


Nenos stopping, and the first emergency services arriving took


about the time it's taken you to watch this film. 51 people were


injured in the crash, seven died. The investigation may one day


provide some answers. But for the people involved, the sights and


sounds of that night will live with them for the rest of their lives.


am talking about us and there are people who have lost family members


and been permanently injured and their lives are changed for ever


and... You know, I don't even have a scratch. It just doesn't make any


sense. None at all. The police investigation continues. One line


of inquiry is whether smoke from a fireworks display which was being


held at Taunton Rugby Club may have been a contributing factor.


It was billed as a dazzling night of family fun. But within 48 hours,


this event was at the centre of a police criminal investigation.


believe that whilst there was fog and there were difficult conditions


that from witness evidence, there was significant smoke across the


carriageway which cost a bank, so much to a far bank, which was very


distracting it difficult to drive through. 10 days on, the question


remains unanswered. Did a fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club cause


or contribute to Britain's worst motorway crash for 20 years? We


wanted to talk to experts from the fireworks industry and those caught


up in the tragedy. We found conflicting eyewitness accounts.


cannot believe you can have a fireworks display so close to a


motorway. It was foggy, so you would not be able to tell if there


was smoke. The fireworks display with some were over there and I was


over there. The accident happened just parallel, almost behind for


ever read the posters. The -- where the rugby post is. Bev Davis heard


the fireworks go off. It took her and her horses by surprise.


couldn't believe it. I ran down to the entrance of the rugby club to


ask them to stop so I could get my horses in. She went straight to


talk to the organisers. While she was there, she raised the question


of safety. A said I can't believe you can have a fireworks display so


close to the motorway. The fact bet it was so bright and blaring, I


just don't see how it could have been anything other than a


distraction. A distraction and worries about smoke. Issues which


have worried the public since the crash and ones the police are now


examining. Tom Smith also takes an active interest. He's a


pyrotechnics consultant. This is the rugby club, for the fireworks


were fired from. This is the M5 and this is where the accident fight --


side was. He estimates the club is 200 metres from the character way.


These are low-level fireworks, and then hire of, Shiels bursting over


the top. -- higher up. A Aurigny producing what looks like a lot of


smoke? The amount of smoke I would expect from a display that size. We


can see the fireworks clearly. There is obviously some smoke but


it is not excessive. It will drift downwind but we do not know where


the wind was. The forecast was for a south-westerly wind. If it is


south-westerly the smoke would travel in this direction. That is


parallel to the motorway ballad than towards it. Regardless of


direction, what would happen to the smoke? It is finite. You cannot


have a very thick and very deep. If it is over an extensive portion of


the motorway Ben by necessity it must have been delayed and then. --


dilate and Fein. We decided to take a much closer look at the smoke


generated by fireworks. Alan Christie's helping us. He detonates


16 tons of fireworks every year and is the man who puts the bang into


the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. I have brought along a selection of the


most ever got things you would find. There is a comical fountain, a 25


mm calibre, a Roman candle. Close up, this appeared to be very fine,


almost like an aerosol spray. The Met Office has told us smoke can


cause mist or fog to form in damp air. It can also thicken them up.


But that's not what Alan's found from his experience with fireworks.


Do you pick it would generate for almost? The not a chance. That is


natural. The weather conditions, low pressure can help hold the


smoke on the floor, but if the wind is not blowing, you see it


dissipate over four or five minutes. We are going to try and have a look


at one large firework going off, producing the smoke and heading


across the road, to see how thick the smoke can be. As you can see,


we have got the firework going and the smoke is being blown across the


road. It is thick smoke and certainly it does not help having


headlamps on. It is hard to see ahead. This experiment on a


farmer's track is far from scientific and in no way does it


replicate the display on 4th November. Of course, close up,


firework smoke reduces visibility. But, is that what happened on the


night? Those at the display on 4th November offer differing opinions


about smoke and wind direction. There was no smoke. Literally, I


walked away after the fireworks and there was no smoke. It was just fog,


thick fog. The display was a very big, supposedly the biggest in


Somerset and there was a lot of smoke created. The display ran for


15 minutes and afterwards of the smoke stayed around for a long time.


You cannot see some of the pitch. The wind was blowing towards me.


From where I was did, by the grandstand, that is away from the


motorway. It was not drifting. It was holding fast, from what I


understand, so I do not think it too quickly at all. Two opposing


accounts. The police no doubt have many more points of view. Alan


doubts smoke was an issue, but thinks the display itself had the


potential to distract drivers. Would you have done it 200 metres


from the M5? There is perhaps too close. 600 metres away and not have


said was a problem but within 100 metres, Sibly not. And within 200?


A bit too close. The chances are you would not have run a show?


It's a bold admission from Alan. He would not have run a fireworks


display at Taunton Rugby Club. Reports suggest the fireworks had


finished 10 minutes before the crash. The police will have the


final word. They have 30 staff following up 200 lines of inquiry.


A camera near junction 25 may hold vital clues. Smoke and fireworks


remain a significant part of the investigation. The rugby club says


it's working closely with Avon and Somerset Police. I was going to an


event in told the... We joined the Wells MP Tessa Munt back at the


scene of the crash. She too is an eyewitness. She was driving south


on the M5 as the fireball raged. The heat was intense. It was


burning hot. We were all of those lanes away. She wasn't aware of


smoke or fireworks and on reflection, feels sympathy for the


event organisers. If I was part of the rugby club I would feel awful.


It must be so stressful for the people involved in organising this.


So often they are for charity and they are events to raise money for


good causes. I guess, mammals just feel terrible. -- that must adjust.


It will take many weeks for the police to reach their conclusions


but already, the issue of firework safety is under scrutiny once again.


If the investigations show smoke from the despair with energy it is


something we will now get very seriously and we would certainly


incorporate information about that in training corporation -- causes.


We do not want to react quickly to something we do not know about yet.


All of these investigations will no doubt add to the picture.


Some memorials need no explanation - like Sir Francis Drake's statue


on Plymouth Hoe. But Historian Jonathan Foyle has been on the


trail of a lesser known South West curious monuments of the lot


Have you bought an antique and wondered what secrets it might


hold? I love rummaging. On a recent trip, I came across a beautiful old


trunk. It's a fine object in itself, but I probably wouldn't have taken


it home if it hadn't been for the brass plate on the front that said:


John Knill Esq. I didn't have a clue who John Knill was, so I did


what any architectural historian would do in similar circumstances -


I Googled him. He must have been some body! Instructions about the


ceremony around his final resting place... 25th July, a few days'


time. It turns out John Knill was an 18th century lawyer who made his


name in Cornwall. And that's where I'm headed to find out more about


the original owner of my trunk. That his dramatic! Knill's monument


sits on a hilltop overlooking St Ives. Every five years, 10 young


girls lead a procession of townsfolk up here and dance around


the steeple, as its known. It is such a local thing, with local


girls taking part. Use the John Knill wanting to remain in the


memory of people of St Ives longer than is usual. He has done very


well, 200 years. We are still dancing around. Harding has been


Master of Ceremonies at the event for nearly half a century. I'm


desperate to learn more about John Knill and why he deserved a


monument, but I'm not about to find out from him. You need to go to the


archive and do some investigation, frankly. There's an awful lot on


him and it does mean digging. If you really want, have a look,


because they have a lot of information. This is turning into a


bit of a mystery tour! John Knill, biographical sketch. Just what I'm


looking for. 60 years after Knill's death, his nephew, John Jope Rogers,


wrote an account of his life and achievements. It's a mine of


information. John Knill was born in East Cornwall in 1733. He trained


as a lawyer in Penzance and at the age of just 29, became Collector of


Customs and then mayor in St Ives. I'm now off to meet someone who can


tell me about the St Ives that Knill knew and his impact upon the


town. It was very poor fishing village. It had a very limited


harbour. At that time it was only a fraction of the size we have now.


It was through him that we have the street we are standing on now. When


the time he was here, there was a boom in mining and there was always


something to export. There was metal or and produce of the town,


which was also a pilchard station. Brian's account helps us picture St


Ives at the dawn of the industrial revolution. Boats would arrive from


South Wales laden with coal to power with a steam engines driving


their minds are deeper and deeper Underground. -- driving the


coalmines. Pilcher's were being exported to Italy. So this was John


Knill's world for the best part of 20 years. It certainly sounds like


he was a mover and shaker, but how many officials get a 50 foot


monument for two decades of public service? This is where the story


gets interesting. His nephew's account tells us that Knill left St


Ives to continue his legal career in London in 1782. But before he


went, he made plans for his own demise. Now, Knill wasn't keen on


churchyard burials... Apparently he did not like the idea of bodies


being piled up on top of each other, much as what was happening in the


graveyard of St Ives Church, even in his dead. The ground is two


metres above the surrounding lanes. So he chose his own final resting


place up on top of Worvas Hill. His body was to be housed in a tomb at


the foot of a steeple, which he commissioned himself. So there's a


monument to John Knill because he paid for it. Some vanity project!


Knill's vanity didn't end there. He even designed his own memorial


ceremony, to be repeated every five years and paid for out of his will.


He stipulated that 10 young girls should be selected and paid �5 each


- a lot of money back then - and a surefire way to get their parents


involved. After kicking off at the Guildhall, the procession makes its


way up through the streets of the town, on its way to the monument.


Knill said the girls should be the daughters of fishermen, tinners or


seamen. That went by the board a while ago. All the more amazing


when you realise that in the end, Knill wasn't actually buried here.


The tomb is empty. From St Ives to St Paul's. To find out about


Knill's later life and his body's final resting place, I've come back


to London. Knill was very much a man about town, living at the heart


of the city. According to his nephew, Knill spent much of his


time hanging out with writers in Paternoster Row. Sadly it was


destroyed in the Blitz but it was frequented by the likes of Boswell


and Dr Johnson. It must have been extraordinary. I discovered a


poignant ending to John Knill's story. He died in 1811 and was


buried at the church of St Andrew, in Holborn. But the redevelopment


of that site meant his final resting place lay elsewhere,


beneath another monument, but this one doesn't bear his name. Over the


years the bodies were brought here, to London Metropolitan Cemetery. It


strikes me as an irony that Knill was not buried in the monument he


built. He is under this monument in a place he never knew, in a mass


grave. But it's in Cornwall he'll be remembered. His body might not


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