Young siblings killed in M4 crash near Newport were stopped on hard shoulder, inquest hears

gracie-ann and jayden-lee
Siblings Jayden-Lee Lucas and Gracie-Ann Wheaton both lost their lives in the crash. Credit: Family photo/GoFundMe/PA

A four-year-old girl and her three-year-old brother died when the car they were travelling in - which was stopped on the hard shoulder - was struck by another vehicle, an inquest has heard.

Four-year-old Gracie-Ann Wheaton and her three-year-old brother Jayden-Lee Lucas died as a result of a collision on the M4 westbound at junction 29 near Newport on February 5.

Senior coroner for Gwent Caroline Saunders formally opened inquests into their deaths on Monday, February 28.

Ms Saunders told the hearing that on February 5, 2022, Gracie-Ann was sitting in the rear of a stationary car, having pulled over onto the hard shoulder, when the car was struck by another vehicle – a Ford Transit driven by Martin Newman of South Avenue, Cymmer.

Three-year-old Jayden-Lee Lucas and his four-year-old sister, Gracie-Ann Wheaton, died after a crash on the M4 motorway near Newport. Credit: Family photo/PA

Newman, 41, has pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at Cardiff Crown Court. He has also pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Ms Saunders said Gracie-Ann was pronounced dead at 4.45am the following day at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where she was identified by her grandfather.

A post-mortem examination carried out by Dr Stephen Leadbeatter concluded that Gracie-Ann died as a result of multiple injuries.

The court then heard how Jayden-Lee died on February 11. He was also sitting in the rear of the vehicle when it was struck by Newman.

Jayden-Lee was also immediately taken to the University of Wales Hospital where he died five days later.

A post-mortem examination, also carried out by Dr Leadbeatter, found that Jayden-Lee died as a result of a blunt force head injury. He was identified by his parents, the court heard.

Both inquests were adjourned with a date not yet set due to ongoing criminal investigation proceedings, Ms Saunders said.

Cousin Jamie Lucas, 19, from Abergavenny, previously described Gracie as "very smart and very creative. She was just fantastic to be around."

He described Jayden as a "wonderful, creative and a kind soul, who turned the grey skies blue."