A former Barnsley FC player,Steven Bennett has been jailed for five years after killing a couple in a motorway crash while he was distracted on his phone.

Richard and Angela Wong, from Northenden, Manchester, were returning home from a caravan in Wales they had just bought on their retirement when Steven Bennett, drove into the back of their car in his 10-tonne lorry.

Bennett, 29, collided with a stationary queue of eight vehicles on the M56 near Warrington, Cheshire, while travelling at about 54mph on September 19,

The Toyota Avensis driven by Mrs Wong, 56, then shunted into the other vehicles in the queue as five others suffered slight injuries. Mrs Wong was pronounced dead at the scene while her husband, aged 62, died three days later.

Bennett initially told police he had been distracted by a bird flying past the screen of the lorry, said prosecutors.

But examination of his phone showed that in the moments leading up to the collision he had been handling it and had plugged and unplugged the charger twice.

Bennett, of Manor Crescent, Grimethorpe, Barnsley, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced on Thursday at Chester Crown Court.

He was also banned from driving for four years and ordered to undertake an extended retest, said the Crown Prosecution Service.