A LORRY driver has been jailed after he ploughed into a stationary minibus and killed four day-trippers travelling home from Essex.

Ethan Burdett, 67, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court today where he was sentenced for four counts of causing death by careless driving.

The lorry driver pleaded guilty at a hearing earlier this year following the fatal crash on the M25 on August 23, 2021.

Burdett, of Ipswich Haven Marina, Ipswich, had been travelling between junction 27 to junction 26 when he failed to react to queueing traffic as he approached the exit slip and crashed into the back of the minibus.

Victims - Jennifer Smith, Lisa Gardiner, Dexter Augustus and Abigael Muamba (left to right, top to bottom)Victims - Jennifer Smith, Lisa Gardiner, Dexter Augustus and Abigael Muamba (left to right, top to bottom) (Image: Essex Police)

Of the 11 passengers in the minibus who were returning to London following a day-trip to Southend, 31-year-old Abigael Muamba from Edmonton Green, 60-year-old Dexter Augustus from Waltham Forest and 59-year-old Jennifer Smith from Stratford all died in the crash.

Lisa Gardiner, 44, from Walthamstow, later died of her injuries.

Burdett has been jailed for three years and banned from driving for four-and-a-half years. Following the ban, he will be required to undertake a retest.

Detective Inspector Mark Fraser, who led the Essex Police investigation, said at the time of conviction: “My thoughts, and those of all my officers who have been involved in the investigation, continue to be with the families and friends who lost their loved ones that evening."

The anti-clockwise section of the M25 in Waltham Abbey was closed for 11-and-a-half hours following the fatal crash.

Three additional passengers in the minibus and the driver of a Mondeo, which was struck as the bus was shunted forward, all sustained minor injuries.