Police set the exact minute of the Cardiff crash that killed three friends

Eve Smith, Rafel Jeanne and Darcy Ross were found dead in the car (Image: PA)

Eve Smith, Rafel Jeanne and Darcy Ross were found dead in the car (Image: PA)

Police have pinpointed the exact minute a car carrying five friends went off the road in Cardiff.

Eve Smith, 21, and Darcy Ross, 21, were found dead along with Rafel Jeanne, 24.

Sophie Russon, 20, and Shane Loughlin, 32, were found severely injured in the wreckage alongside their dead friends.

Officers have now revealed that the car left the busy dual carriageway at 2:03 a.m. last Saturday morning.

It was obscured by trees for 46 hours before being spotted just after midnight on Monday.

Detectives are now appealing for help from anyone who spotted the nine-year-old white VW Tiguan in the moments leading up to the tragedy.

Their appeal came after a sixth occupant in the car came forward and gave police a “full report” of the last hours spent with the five friends.

A scene in the St Mellons area of ​​Cardiff where three people who went missing on a night out died in a road accident.  Two other people, who were also reported missing, were transported to the hospital with serious injuries.  Sophie Russon, 20, Eve Smith, 21, and Darcy Ross, 21, who flew in from Porthcawl, and Rafel Jeanne, 24, and Shane Loughlin, 32, both from Cardiff, were last seen in the city early Saturday.  Photo date: Monday, March 6, 2023. PA Photo.  See the history of PA POLICE Cardiff.  Photo credit should be Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Car discovery site in Cardiff’s St Mellons area (Image: PA)

27-year-old friend Joel Lia was abandoned shortly before a car drove off a busy road into Cardiff woods – and was not found for another 46 hours.

Mr Lia “cooperated fully” with police investigating the tragedy late in the evening when the six headed to a seaside camping park after drinking at a nightclub.

Officers try to piece together the group’s movements as they prepare for the accident and comb CCTV and license plate recognition cameras for a white VW Tiguan driven by Mr. Jeanne.

A police spokesperson said: “The families of Rafel Jeanne, Darcy Ross and Eve Smith who died in the collision continue to be supported by specialist family liaison officers. Autopsies are in progress.

Friends and family paid tribute to friends killed in the crash (Image: Wales News Service)

“Two more people remain at the University Hospital in Wales.

“After extensive research, which included an analysis of CCTV cameras and number plate recognition cameras in the area, the time of the collision was confirmed as 2:03 am on Saturday, March 4.

“A white Volkswagen Tiguan veered off the road into a wooded area.

Detectives investigating the collision are now asking anyone who has been in the area or may have traveled east along the A48 Eastern Avenue between Cardiff and St Mellons which connects to the A48 roundabout, B4487 and Cypress Drive (near Blooms Garden Centre) who may have dash cam footage from that time.

“They also want to speak to anyone who has traveled in the area and may have seen the Volkswagen Tiguan.”

Police say the appeal is for witnesses who may have seen the vehicle and there is no suggestion that another vehicle was involved in the collision.

Deputy Chief Constable Jason Davies of South Wales Police said: “The investigation is making good progress in putting together the events leading up to the collision.

“Specialized officers will continue to conduct a thorough investigation that will allow us to establish the facts of what happened in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Cardiff, Wales - March 06: A general view of the A48 stage on March 6, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales.  The three women and two men had not been heard from since 2am on Saturday until the discovery of the car in the early hours of Monday.  (Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Rafel Jeanne, Darcy Ross and Eve Smith Eve Smith died in an accident (Image: PA)

“Our thoughts are with the families and all those affected by this tragic incident. Family Liaison Officers are supporting the families involved through what must be an extremely difficult time for them.”

The last confirmed sighting of friends was at 2am on Saturday when Lia was stranded in nearby Pentwyn in Cardiff, just two miles from the site of the tragedy.

A source said: “He has fully cooperated with officers in this matter and is understandably very upset by the events of that night.”

Mr. Lia was with Mr. Jeanne, Mr. Lia and Mr. Loughlin who met Eve, Darcy and Sophie at a social club known as The Muffler in Newport on Friday night.

Police launch probe into 'arguments' at caravan park hours before Cardiff car crash Trecco Bay caravan park

Police have launched an investigation into a ‘brawl’ in a caravan park before the crash (Image: Marc Giddings)

They then got in the car and drove 38 miles to Porthcawl, where Mr Loughlin has a caravan.

An alleged noise complaint was made at the Trecco Bay Camp, but officers “do not believe it played any major role” in subsequent events.

Mr. Jeanne was a “very close friend” of Mr. Lia and they were away the night before the tragedy.

The five friends were not discovered in the overturned car until just after midnight on Monday.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hoborough of Gwent Police said: “This is an incredibly sad situation and our thoughts are with the families and friends of every young person involved.”

“We will continue to support the investigation and ask members of the public to refrain from speculation during this period.”

Gwent Police and South Wales Police will be investigated by the Independent Police Conduct Office in connection with the handling of the case.

Contact our news team by emailing webnews@metro.co.uk.

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