Teenage newlyweds killed in car crash in UK were expecting first child
Patrick and Shauna McDonagh were members of the Traveller community
Shauna and Patrick McDonagh, newlyweds who died in a car crash near London. Photograph: Facebook
A married teenage couple killed in a car crash near London were both members of the Irish travelling community.
Newlyweds Patrick McDonagh (19), and his 18-year-old wife Shauna, who was pregnant, were killed on the A40 near East Acton in west London at about 9pm last Sunday.
The couple died when their car was in a head-on collision with a coach following a police pursuit.
However, the UK’s Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating the incident due to the fatalities, said the couple had not been present at an earlier aggravated burglary incident that prompted the police response.
Martin Collins, co-director of Pavee Point, the Irish Travellers’ organisation, described it as a tragic case and confirmed the couple were Irish although it is not known how long they had been in the UK.
“We send out our deepest condolences to the immediate and extended family and friends,” he told The Irish Times.
An extended family member of one of the deceased had worked for Pavee Point in the past.
In a detailed statement on its investigation, the IOPC said the couple’s car had been on the wrong side of the road when the crash took place.
A male passenger who was travelling in the car was taken to hospital but his condition is unknown.
Police had been pursuing their Renault Scenic for about ten minutes but had pulled back before the crash took place. A National Police Air Service helicopter had been monitoring its movements instead.
“It has now been confirmed, as part of a separate police investigation, that the occupants of the Renault were not present at the time of an aggravated burglary reported to have taken place in Harrow,” the IOPC said.
It is understood, family members of the deceased had been upset by some early media reporting regarding that erroneous link.
A number of people travelling on the coach received medical attention at the scene and two were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The IOPC, which was notified of the crash by police, will examine what information the police had and the rationale for the pursuit. Officer accounts, footage from the helicopter, police cars, body worn video and CCTV, and in-car data are all being secured.
“It is important that we now establish all of the circumstances surrounding this collision,” said IOPC regional director Jonathan Green.
“We have therefore launched an independent investigation into the events leading to the collision and immediately deployed our investigators to attend the scene and the post incident procedure.”