A MAN who is to admit responsibility for the deaths of three people in a road accident is facing a lengthy prison sentence.

Michael Logan, 26, was at the wheel of a Citroen Xantia SX turbo diesel which collided, at high speed, with an oncoming Peugeot 406 taxi on the A692, Castleside to Consett road, in County Durham, on Sunday, May 22.

It resulted in the deaths of taxi driver Michael Stewart and Michael and Margaret Murray, a married couple who were passengers in the back seat.

A third passenger, a man in his 50s, was also injured.

Mr Logan and a passenger in his car both suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to hospital after the accident, at 6.50pm near the Morrisons roundabout in Consett.

He was subsequently charged with causing the deaths of Mr Stewart and Mr and Mrs Murray by dangerous driving.

Mr Logan made his first appearance at a preliminary hearing at Durham Crown Court on Friday.

Although the charges were not put to him, his barrister, Nick Cartmell, told the court: "There will be no jury needed and I hope that brings some certainty to those families who have an interest in the outcome.

"I ask for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, prior to sentence in November, and, as he is on bail, he can put his affairs in order before what must be the inevitable sentence in due course."

Judge John Walford agreed to the adjournment for reports and bailed Mr Logan, of Dacre Gardens, Consett, to return to court on November 11,when his pleas will be tendered and sentence imposed.

He said: "I'm prepared to grant you bail but you know a lengthy custodial sentence is inevitable."

Mr Stewart, 39, of Surrey Crescent, Moorside, Consett, worked for Neasham's Taxis in the town. He was married with three children.

The Murrays, both aged 53, lived at Castleside, near Consett, and had two grown-up children.

Mrs Murray was a carer for adults with learning difficulties at Jubilee House in Moorside, Consett.

Mr Murray worked for a company in Blaydon, on Tyneside, which specialised in repairs on overhead rail tracks.