A DISTRACTED lorry driver killed a Radcliffe schoolboy and one of his teachers after he used mobile phone apps at the wheel including a medieval fantasy game, a court has heard.

James Majury, 33, was said to have used apps including Hustle Castle, Sky Sports and Facebook from the moment he set off on his journey to about 45 minutes later when a multi-vehicle collision took place on the M58 at Bickerstaffe, West Lancashire, in January 2019.

One of the vehicles struck was a minibus carrying pupils and staff from Pontville School, a special educational needs school in Ormskirk.

Pupil Joe Cairns, 14, from Radcliffe, and staff member Anne Kerr, 50, from Southport, died from their injuries.

Relatives of both victims were at Preston Crown Court to watch Majury enter guilty pleas to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving and five offences of causing serious injury.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said the Crown's case was Majury was "voluntarily distracted" for a lengthy period up to and including the collision in which he reacted "no more than half a second" before impact.

Messages were also exchanged during the defendant's journey on the morning of January 8, the court heard.

Majury was remanded in custody by Judge Robert Altham and told to expect a lengthy jail term when he is sentenced on March 31.

Both prosecution and defence counsel agreed Majury's actions were at the most serious end of the scale for such offending as he had showed a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road.

James Ageros QC, defending, said: "He would like to express his profound remorse and regret for his actions and for their tragic loss.

"One, of course, appreciates they are merely words but it is important that it is said on his behalf today.

"The events themselves have had a severe psychological and physical impact on Mr Majury."

The defendant, of Milton Road, Coppull, arrived at court on bail with his partner and asked that he remain at liberty until his sentencing date.

Mr Ageros said his client had yet to finalise the mortgage arrangements of the couple's home and that they had also not yet sat down with their eight-year-old daughter to explain the consequences of his behaviour.

Refusing bail, Judge Altham said: "In a case of such gravity he should be remanded in custody and start that sentence today."

Following the crash, close to junction three of the motorway at about 8.45am, tributes were paid to the teenager and Mrs Kerr.

The youngster's parents, Steph and Andy Cairns, said: "Joe, my brave boy, a true fighter with a heart of gold. An amazing sense of humour and infectious smile, a true superhero."