Sunday 18 August 2019

Three children among five killed as stolen car smashes into tree

A tree at the scene in Leeds bears the scar of the crash as police investigators piece together the sequence of events Photo: Reuters
A tree at the scene in Leeds bears the scar of the crash as police investigators piece together the sequence of events Photo: Reuters

Dave Higgens, Leeds

Three children were among five people killed when a stolen car smashed into a tree, leaving a scene of "complete carnage", according to UK police.

Bodies lay on the road and a car was reduced to a crumpled mess of metal, according to neighbours and police.

A 12-year-old, two 15-year-olds, a 24-year-old and a 28-year-old died after a stolen Renault Clio hit a tree in Leeds, West Yorkshire, about 9.55pm on Saturday night.

Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene and three died a short time later at hospital.

Three of the victims have been named locally as brothers Ellis and Elliott Thornton, aged 12 and 15, and Darnell Harte who was thought to be 15.

One man who lives close to the crash site said: "It was unbelievable. You couldn't even recognise it as a car. It was just a crumpled mess."

His wife said: "There were bodies laid about, it was awful. It was as bad as that."

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said it was not possible to tell whether the dead and injured had been in the car or walking along the street at the time.

Another woman said her husband ran up the road and could not believe what was left of the car.

She said: "It was just a lump of metal that was not recognisable as a car."

All those who died were male, said officers, who confirmed two more 15-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remain in custody.

Yesterday, floral tributes to those who died began to accumulate opposite the tree.

One tribute pinned to the flowers read: "Darnell (gone too soon). It just doesn't make sense".

One of the mothers of the deceased visited the scene of the crash yesterday, clearly distressed.

A number of teenagers arrived at the police cordon during the day, many in tears.

A police spokesman said officers were confronted by a scene of "complete carnage" when they arrived at the crash site.

He said that just one vehicle had been involved but it was not yet clear whether the five victims and two suspects had all been in the car.

Irish Independent

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