Wales crash: Investigation into cause of death ongoing as fatal A48 Cardiff crash inquest opens

Darcy Ross, Rafel Jeanne and Eve Smith all died following the crash. Credit: Social Media

More tests are needed to determine the cause of death for three people who were killed in a crash that left two others fighting for their lives, an inquest opening has heard.

Darcy Ross, 21, and Eve Smith, 21, both from Newport, as well as Rafel Jeanne, 24, from Cardiff, all died following the incident in St Mellons, Cardiff, and were "declared dead at the scene".

It comes as the inquest into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the three individuals at South Wales Central Coroner’s Court opened on Friday 17 March.

South Wales Police confirmed the time of the crash as 2:03 am on Saturday 4 March after studying CCTV and number plate recognition cameras in the area.

The white Volkswagen Tiguan was found almost 48 hours later in a wooded area off the A48 on Monday 6 March.

Sophie Russon, 20, from Newport and Shane Loughlin, 32, from Cardiff, were also travelling in the vehicle. They were left with serious injuries and remain at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Shane Loughlin and Sophie Russon were left in a critical condition. Credit: Social Media

Assistant Coroner, David Regan, opened the inquests at a hearing in Pontypridd.

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.”

Family and friends of those involved in the incident criticised the police response publicly and on social media.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has since confirmed it will investigate Gwent Police and South Wales Police's handling of the events and their actions following missing person reports being filed.

The group had been out in Newport on the Friday night before they travelled 35 miles west to Trecco Bay Holiday Park in Porthcawl, where they are understood to have stayed for a period of time prior to the incident.

Police have since started to investigate a noise complaint which was made to the caravan park's security lodge.

The vehicle was found in a wooded area off the A48 on Monday 6 March. Credit: ITV News

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

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

At 12:02am on Monday 6th March, Gwent Police officers on the ground said they had sight of the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The vehicle was believed to have come off the dual carriageway before crashing into trees.

Family and friends of those involved, including the three individuals to have died, paid tribute on social media. Flowers, balloons and notes have also been left at the scene of the crash.

Hundreds of people also attended a vigil on the evening of Tuesday 7 March which saw fireworks and balloons being let off.