THE inquests into the deaths of eight people killed in a crash on the M1 have been opened.

The crash, for which Ryszard Masierak, 31, from Barnards Close, Evesham has been charged with causing the death of eight people, happened on Saturday August 26.

Mr Masierak of Barnards Close, Evesham, Worcestershire, is accused of four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and eight counts of causing death by careless driving whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit.

The coroner's officer Frederick Howe said an articulated lorry was stationary in lane one, the minibus slowed and stopped and a second lorry pushed into the rear of the minibus.

Four people were taken to hospital and the remaining eight in the minibus died.

The cause of death of all the victims was given as multiple injuries. They were identified via their fingerprints.

Mr Masierak was in the AIM Logistics lorry that had stopped.

He allegedly gave a reading of 55 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath - the legal limit for driving is 35.

He will appear in Aylesbury Crown Court on Tuesday September 26.

The six men and two women, who died were travelling in a minibus that was in a crash with two lorries at 3.15am

They were heading from Nottingham to London, where they were to catch the Eurostar to France, when the crash happened on the southbound carriageway close to junction 14 at Newport Pagnell.

Four other people who were in the minibus remain in hospital. A man in his 30s is in a critical condition. A four-year-old girl, a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 50s remain in a serious but stable condition.

In a hearing at The Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keynes, the city's Senior Coroner Tom Osborne formally opened the inquests and released the bodies to their families.

The coroner said: "I have signed the mortuary release forms for the bodies to be repatriated to India.

"The inquest is suspended until proceedings in crown court are concluded."

He added: "I would like to thank all those involved in recovering and identifying the dead who worked tirelessly to return them to families as soon as possible.

"My condolences and sympathy to the families for this tragic accident."

The other lorry driver David Wagstaff, aged 53, of Stoke-on-Trent, has been charged with eight counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He has been bailed to appear at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court on Monday (September 11).