South Yorkshire police boss promises 'careful consideration' of corporate manslaughter prosecution after smart motorway deaths

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has promised that ‘careful consideration’ will be given to calls for Highways England to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter over smart motorways.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 11:48 am

Widow Claire Mercer took a giant digital billboard to South Yorkshire Police’s headquarters yesterday urging the force to prosecute Highways England.

She launched her campaign after her husband Jason Mercer 44, from Rotherham, was killed along with motorist Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, from Mansfield, when the pair stopped on the M1 near Sheffield to exchange details after a crash.

They were on a stretch of smart motorway where there was no hard shoulder.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Widow Claire Mercer took a giant digital billboard to South Yorkshire Police's headquarters yesterday to urge the force to prosecute Highways England for corporate manslaughter over smart motorways. Picture: Chris Etchells
Widow Claire Mercer took a giant digital billboard to South Yorkshire Police's headquarters yesterday to urge the force to prosecute Highways England for corporate manslaughter over smart motorways. Picture: Chris Etchells

Mrs Mercer claims smart motorways are dangerous and the lorry driver who was jailed for killing her husband and Mr Murgeanu was the wrong person to have been prosecuted over the death crash.

She claims Highways England must accept responsibility, claiming lives are put at risk on smart motorways daily.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, who oversees the way South Yorkshire Police is run, funded and performs, said: “I have every sympathy with Claire and with her campaign to see an end to smart motorways, especially at this difficult time for her.

“I too share her concerns about the dangers of smart motorways of the all lane running type that we have in South Yorkshire and have written to the transport minister to make my views known.

“I understand from the Chief Constable that the issues Claire is highlighting today will be carefully considered by SYP when the relevant documents are received from the coroner.”