Police officer under criminal investigation for allegedly falsifying witness statement after crash

Darcy Ross and Eve Smith (right), both 21 and from Newport, were found dead alongside Rafel Jeanne (left), 24, from Cardiff, in the early hours of Monday 6 March.

A Gwent Police officer is under investigation for allegedly falsifying a witness statement during inquiries into a crash that killed three young people in St Mellons, Cardiff.

Seven officers in total have been served with disciplinary notices for misconduct or gross misconduct by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC).

Darcy Ross and Eve Smith, both 21 and from Newport, were found dead alongside Rafel Jeanne, 24, from Cardiff, in the early hours of Monday 6 March.

They were found days after the vehicle they were travelling in is believed to have crashed into a wooded area off the A48 near St Mellons.

The crash site in the St Mellons area of Cardiff Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Two others, Shane Loughlin, 32, and Sophie Russon, 20, were left critically injured.

They were discovered inside a Volkswagen Tiguan in a wooded area off of the A48, almost two days after any of the group had been last heard from.

Relatives of those who died had reported them missing on 4 March.

Four officers now face allegations of gross misconduct, including one officer facing a criminal investigation, and a further three are facing misconduct allegations.

One officer is facing gross misconduct allegations concerning their review of missing person reports, while another is facing a misconduct allegation for the same reason.

One officer is facing gross misconduct allegations over their face-to-face communication with family members at a police station.

Two officers are facing gross misconduct allegations over whether or not they carried out searches of the homes of two of the people reported missing - one of these officers is facing a criminal investigation for allegedly falsifying their witness statement.

Two officers are facing misconduct allegations over comments made at the scene of the crash.

The IOPC said the serving of these notices does not necessarily mean disciplinary or criminal proceedings will follow.

IOPC Director David Ford said: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the families and friends of the young people who tragically lost their lives, those who were left seriously injured, and everyone affected by this incident.

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

“Since the start of our investigation, we have expanded our work to investigate a number of detailed complaints from the families affected. As a result, seven Gwent Police officers have been advised that they are under investigation.

"We continue to analyse a significant volume of evidence and assess whether police actions following the missing person reports were in accordance with local and national policies and procedures.

"At the end of our investigation, we will make decisions as to whether any officer should face disciplinary proceedings and whether any matters should be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.“

"While we have carried out additional work to address the concerns raised, we will conclude our investigation as soon as possible. It is important for all concerned that our independent investigation is comprehensive and thorough.”

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