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Man charged with driving offences as part of A48 St Mellons crash inquiry

25 Jul 2023 2 minute read
The scene in the St Mellons area of Cardiff where three people who disappeared on a night out died in a road traffic accident. Photo PA Images

A 28-year-old has been charged as part of an investigation into a crash in which three people were killed.

Joel Samuel Lia, of Rumney in Cardiff, will appear at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with driving without a licence or insurance in Porthcawl on March 4.

The offences took place shortly before, but are not connected to, the fatal crash that happened at 2.03am on the A48(M) near the St Mellons area of Cardiff and involves the same car.

Driver Rafel Jeanne, 24, and passengers Darcy Ross, 21, and Eve Smith, 21, died in the collision while the two remaining passengers, Sophie Russon, 20, and Shane Loughlin, 32, were injured but survived.

The five were discovered on Monday March 6, around 46 hours after the crash happened.

The length of time taken by Gwent Police and South Wales Police to find the group, who were reported missing by family members, is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Social club

The group had been on a night out to The Muffler social club in Maesglas, Newport, on Friday March 3 and had then travelled in a Volkswagen Tiguan just under 40 miles to the Trecco Bay caravan park in Porthcawl where they are said to have spent some time in one of the caravans on site.

A noise complaint was made to the park’s security lodge about the group, PA news agency understands.

The group left the site a short time later and were last seen at about 2am in the Pentwyn area of Cardiff dropping off a sixth member of their group.

According to Gwent Police, the first missing person report was made at 7.34pm on the Saturday.

The force did not issue a public missing person appeal until 11pm on Sunday.

The car was spotted just after midnight on Monday morning having veered off a slip road approaching a roundabout and come to rest in a small copse of trees, shielded from the view of other motorists, nearby houses and a busy garden centre.

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