A Portuguese lorry driver appeared at crown court charged with killing a former Birmingham family of six in a motorway pile-up.

Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva, 46, appeared before Chester Crown Court charged with six counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

At the short hearing he was joined by an interpreter and spoke only to confirm his name. The driver, of Calle Romero, Tutana, Murcia, in Spain, was in the dock over the deaths of David and Michelle Statham and their four children.

A plea and case management hearing will take place on January 13. Nogueira has been remanded in custody.

The Statham family was being buried today after a funeral at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Llandudno, North Wales.

The coffins were taken into the church on Monday evening and relatives stayed through the night.

Chef Mr Statham, 38, and his 33-year-old wife were returning home to Llandudno after visiting relatives in Birmingham on the night of October 20. Their silver people carrier burst into flames after it was involved in a five-vehicle pile-up between junctions 16 and 17 on the M6 northbound carriageway.

The couple – together for 19 years – died at the scene along with sons Reece, 13, Jay, nine, Mason, 20 months, and 10-week-old baby daughter Ellouise.