'We have lost the heart of our family' - family of dad and two children killed in French car accident
The family of John Crompton, 31, who died with his two daughters Morgan Lund, nine, and Evie-Lily Crompton, four, in a car crash in France, said: "Our lives have been torn apart and will never be the same again. We have lost the heart of our family."
The crash on a French motorway which killed the British father and two of his children may have been caused by him falling asleep or being distracted, investigators have said.
The driver's wife and their youngest child were flown to hospital following the crash which happened after 7am on Sunday on the A39 in Beaurepaire-en-Bresse between Lyon and Dijon. The youngster was thought to be seriously injured.
The driver has been named locally as John Crompton, 31, from Hartlepool, and tributes have been paid to the family man.
On Sunday Colin Harrison posted on a Facbeook group called Hartlepool Billiards and Snooker of which Mr Crompton is a member.
He said: "Heartbreaking news about one of the leagues top players.
"John Crompton and two of his children were tragically killed in a road accident in France earlier today.
"Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. very talented and well liked man. RIP mate".
Two air ambulances were called to the scene and the injured child was flown to hospital in Lyon.
In an interview with the France3 TV channel, a member of the emergency services said two of the children were dead when they arrived and the father was trapped.
He was said to have died from a heart attack minutes after he was released from the wreckage.
Pictures showed a badly mangled family Nissan which was ripped apart after initially hitting a safety barrier.
An investigator told the TV channel the reason for the car hitting the barrier was as yet unknown, but it could have been caused by the driver falling asleep or being distracted.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are providing assistance following a road traffic accident in France, in which three British nationals have sadly died and two others have been hospitalised.
"We are working closely with local authorities and supporting the families at this difficult time."