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Three killed in Cardiff crash ‘declared dead at scene’, inquests told

17 Mar 2023 4 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

Three people killed in a crash in Cardiff that left two others fighting for their lives were declared dead at the scene, an inquest opening at South Wales Central Coroner’s Court has heard.

Rafel Jeanne, 24, Eve Smith, 21, and Darcy Ross, 21, died in the collision on the A48(M) near the St Mellons area of the city.

Sophie Russon, 20, and Shane Loughlin, 32, were badly injured and remain at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

The five were discovered on Monday March 6, around 46 hours after the crash happened at 2.03am on Saturday March 4.

Gwent Police and South Wales Police have been criticised over the length of time it took to find the group and are under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Assistant coroner David Regan opened the inquests at a hearing in Pontypridd on Friday.

It was confirmed to the court that all three victims “were involved in a road traffic collision on the A48 St Mellons, Cardiff off-slip and were declared deceased at the scene”.

The victims were identified by family members.

Post-mortems have been carried out at the University Hospital Wales but pathologist Dr Stephen Leadbeatter did not provide a provisional cause of death pending further investigation into histology and toxicology.


Mr Regan adjourned all three inquests pending further investigation. A date for the inquests is yet to be set.

The coroner added: “I extend my condolences to the families of Mr Jeanne, Ms Smith and Ms Ross.”

The group had been on a night out to The Muffler social club in Maesglas, Newport, on Friday March 3 and had then travelled 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.

The PA news agency understands that while they were there a noise complaint about the group was made to the park’s security lodge.

They left a short time later and were last seen at about 2am in the Pentwyn area of Cardiff having dropped off a sixth passenger.

After failing to return home, family members of the victims reported them missing.

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

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

The five victims and the Volkswagen Tiguan they were travelling in were found by search parties just after midnight on Monday.

The car had 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.

Ms Smith’s father Everton Smith told the BBC his daughter was “everything a father could wish for” and “nothing will be the same” without her.


In a tribute on Facebook, Ms Ross’s father wrote: “Words can’t describe the way I feel losing you so young, memories of my beautiful baby to the stunning lady you turned into – your smile I will never forget and will cherish forever.

“Your sense of humour, personality and beautiful face is something Dada will cherish forever.”

Mr Jeanne’s sister Ffion Actie told Sky News she was “heartbroken”, describing her brother as “happy, loving, bubbly, and very, very popular”.

A friend of the women involved in the crash, Tamzin Samuels, 20, told PA: “They were really popular girls, the life of the party.

“Darcy was known as a wild child, loved life and lived life to the fullest and she didn’t care what anyone thought about her. She was great.

“Eve had a smile that could brighten a room as soon as she walked in. A real feisty, independent girl, but everyone loved her just as much.”

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Tim Wickenden
1 year ago

Indescribable that in this modern age of tech and comms they did not trace them sooner. What an awful tragedy and my heart goes out to all families and friends of these young people.

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