Pictured: Crash scene where three died and two injured in Cardiff

Pictured: Woman, 21, whose sister was killed by drug driver in 2015 is confirmed as first victim who died in horror smash that killed three and left two fighting for their lives

  • Three people have been found dead in a hunt for five missing after a car crash
  • Two missing people have been transported to hospital with serious injuries 

A ‘bubbly and beautiful’ young woman whose sister was killed by a drug driver in 2015 has died in a car that crashed in South Wales killing three young people and leaving two seriously injured.

The white Volkswagen Tiguan carrying Sophie Russon, 20, Eve Smith, 21, and Darcy Ross, 21, Rafel Jeanne, 24, and Shane Loughlin, 32, was discovered in trees just yards off the A48 in Cardiff in the early hours of this morning – and may have been there for 48 hours, MailOnline can reveal.

Eve Smith’s family has reportedly confirmed she has died. Her sister Xana was killed in a car crash in January 2015 caused by a male driver who was drunk while high on cocaine and cannabis, MailOnline has learned. Eve and her family appeared in a Sky documentary calling for tougher sentences for dangerous drivers.

Mike Holmes, 52, a driver at the scene this morning, said: ‘It’s incredible that thousands of cars must have gone past without knowing. My heart goes out to the families, it’s awful to think they were in the car and so close to people going by.’   

Gwent Police today revealed they had found three bodies in the early hours of this morning. Two people have been rushed to hospital with serious injuries. The force has not revealed who has been found dead or alive. 

Eve Smith, 21, whose sister Xana was killed by a drug and drink driver in 2015, has died in a crash where police took 48 hours to find the car containing five people

Rafel Jeanne (pictured with the missing car) is believed to be the son of former Cardiff City and QPR footballer Leon Jeanne (right), who was once dubbed Wales’ most promising footballer before being jailed in a drugs case

The five crash victims were returning from a night out in Cardiff when their white VW Tiguan left the road at speed and flew into trees and undergrowth. Three have died, two are seriously injured and in hospital. Police have not revealed the names of the deceased

A firefighter carries what appears to be a stretcher into the trees where the car was found just yards off a major road on the outskirts of Cardiff

Colleagues were seen carrying cutting equipment into the trees off a A48 slip road

Road traffic experts from South Wales Police were seen marking an area by a kerb this morning. Drivers said the car was found in trees just off the A48

Family of the missing friends shared this CCTV of the car before it was found close to a busy A-road in South Wales this morning

Rafel Jeanne is believed to be the son of former Cardiff City and QPR footballer Leon Jeanne, who was once dubbed Wales’ most promising footballer. In 2019 Mr Jeanne was convicted of dangerous driving after being chased by police at 100mph on the same road where his son was found today. In 2015 he was jailed for 30 months for his part in a plot to supply cocaine. 

Specialist officers are supporting the families of those involved and inquiries are ongoing. BBC Wales is reporting that Ms Russon is in hospital with serious injuries. 

A member of Eve Smith’s family confirmed to The Sun that she had died, as have a number of social media posts from friends. 

One said on Facebook: “Gutted and shocked to wake up to the news that Eve Smith and 2 others have passed away.

“Such a kind hearted strong women, it don’t seem real, such a young age. So, so, so sad. Taken way too soon. RIP Eve.”

Another said: “One of the kindest girls with a heart of gold. rest in peace girl and i’m so annoyed that you got taken away from us so soon.

“It should have never happened, but one thing for sure you will never be forgotten.”

Eve’s family dealt with a similar tragedy in 2015, when sister Xana died. 

Sakhawat Ali, then 23, who was high on cocaine and cannabis and twice the drink-drive limit, had given Xana a lift home from a party. She was a passenger when the flipped over at 60mph in January 2015. 

Their father is Tony Borg a former boxer who trained Welsh Olympic medal winning boxers and world champion Lee Selby. The family called for tougher sentences for drivers who killed people in car crashes and appeared in a Sky documentary about their lives with a crew that followed them around for three years. 

The missing group had all partying at the Muffler bar and club in Maesglas, Newport on Friday evening, before they are thought to have headed to Trecco Bay in Porthcawl. They were last seen at 2am on Saturday morning. 

It is not yet known if the group of five knew each other beforehand. On social media there were claims that they may have met for the first time in the Newport nightclub.

CCTV from a petrol station captured them at around 2am on Saturday morning – the last sighting. It came shortly after Darcy and Rafel shared a Snapchat post of themselves together on Friday night. 

Families were ‘worried sick’ and went onto social media to beg people to scour country lanes to search for the missing people named as Sophie Russon, 20, Eve Smith, 21, Darcy Ross, 21, Rafel Jeanne, 24, and Shane Loughlin, 32.

Police confirmed three of the group were found dead near the village of St Mellons, Cardiff, and two were seriously injured.

One of the survivors is believed to be Mr Loughlin, a father who runs a bouncy castle hire company in Cardiff.

Rafel Jeanne is believed to be a relative of former Queens Park Rangers footballer Leon Jeanne, 42, a convicted drug dealer.

Police have sealed off the accident scene next to a roundabout at the top of a slip road coming off the A48M.

Mike Holmes, 52, a driver at the scene this morning, said: ‘It’s incredible that thousands of cars must have gone past without knowing.

‘The car has come off the roundabout and gone into the trees, there’s a bit of a dip so you just can’t see it.

‘They’ve taken the two injured out but the car is still in there and I’m not sure if the three dead are still inside’.

Mr Holmes said there was no debris in the road and no sign of any other vehicle being involved.

He said: ‘The police are here taking measurements and putting markers down on the road. They’ve put protective screens up.

‘I think the car has driven up the slipway off the motorway and somehow gone out of control on the roundabout.’

Darcy Ross and Rafel Jeanne partying together on the night they were last seen. Police searching for the group of five people who disappeared after a night out in Cardiff say they have located three of them dead.

Eve Smith (pictured) is among the group of missing friends. Police are supporting their families

Darcy Ross, 21, (left) and Sophie Russon, 20, (right) are missing alongside another woman and two men. Family say they are ‘worried sick’ and have appealed for help in finding them

Shane Loughlin (left), 32, and Rafel Jeanne, 24, (right) were been reported missing after the women were last seen at 2am on Saturday

Family of the missing friends shared this CCTV of the car before it was found close to a busy A-road in South Wales this morning

Police vehicles close off the A48 between Cardiff and Newport after the car of five missing people was found last night. Three people have died while two have serious injuries

An area off a roundabout has been screened off. Firefighters entered the cordon this morning

Police are trying to track the movements of the nine-year-old VW Tiguan with the registration number VE64 YLB.

The five people started their Friday night out at the Maesglas Sports and Social Club in Newport, known as The Muffler.

They decided to go to Mr Loughlin’s caravan at the Trecco Bay caravan park 28 miles away in Porthcawl but it’s not clear if they got there.

It’s believed the two men were driving the three young women back to Newport when the accident happened. One friend claimed they crashed shortly after dropping another male friend home in Cardiff.

The three young women were last seen in Cardiff in the early hours of Saturday having travelled there from Porthcawl.

They were last seen at about 2am on Saturday morning in the Llanederyn area of the Welsh capital. 

They had made the trip in a Volkswagen Tiguan with two men, Rafel Jeanne, 24, and Shane Loughlin, 32, both from Cardiff, who were also reported as missing.

Police believe the car they were travelling in was involved in a road traffic collision and came off the A48. 

This morning, a police spokesperson said the VW Tiguan had been recovered just after midnight this morning in the St Mellons area of Cardiff.

Police have not confirmed the identities of those who have died. 

Specialist officers are supporting the families of those involved and inquiries are ongoing.

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101, or send a direct message on social media, quoting 2300071791.

The case has been referred to the IOPC. The police insist this is in line with normal procedures.

Relatives said late last night that something ‘must be wrong’ after not having heard from the women. None of them had been active on social media. 

Sophie’s mother Anna Certowicz, 42, was driving around the Gwent and Cardiff areas last night in a desperate search for her daughter – after police officers told her to ‘stop ringing’ the station for updates. 

She told the Daily Mail: ‘They didn’t seem to care. I had to drive to Cardiff to knock on doors myself because they were doing s*d all. They just didn’t seem to think it was worth investigating. It was so frustrating.

‘I think they assumed that Sophie was hungover somewhere, but she’s a sensible girl who works in a bank and hasn’t taken a day off for three years.

‘She’s not someone who’s out clubbing in Cardiff all the time. On Friday nights she’s more likely to be babysitting so other people can go out. She wouldn’t just vanish like this unless something was wrong.

‘The police asked me to stop ringing but at the end of the day I’m a mum I’m going to worry. Her little sister is worrying too, she’s only 13 and she’s wondering where Sophie is.’

Ms Certowicz said that Sophie had known Eve and Darcy since childhood.

‘They’re incredibly close, they message every day. We worked out earlier that this is the first time in 347 days that Sophie hasn’t replied to her.

‘Sophie, Eve, and Darcy have been friends since they were ten years old, I know the families and they haven’t heard anything either.’

The last time Ms Certowicz says she spoke to Sophie was on Friday afternoon when she was told that her daughter was going out for a few drinks at the local pub.

‘I’m going to stay out all night looking for her, I know I can’t sleep and I just need to find her.’

Eve Smith, Darcy Ross and Sophie Russon (left to right) are among those missing. Relatives of the three women said none of them have been seen or heard from since 2am on Saturday

Shane Loughlin, 32, and Rafel Jeanne-Actie, 24, (left to right) were expected to travel 35 miles away to Porthcawl but never arrived

Sophie’s mother Anna Certowicz, 42, (left) was driving around the Gwent and Cardiff areas late into Sunday night in a desperate search for her daughter (right)

Appeals for information were posted on social media before police revealed that three bodies had been found

Locals have been driving between Newport and Cardiff in a desperate search for the girls. Some have been searching lanes nearby and some have even begun to enquire in nearby hotels. 

Family members said it is very unusual for the girls to not to be in touch with their families for this length of time.  

Ms Smith’s car is still at the Muffler club, according to her sister Lauren Doyle. 

In a post Ms Doyle said: ‘It is known that they went to the Muffler in Maesglas and then went to Trecco Bay on Friday night but left there to an unknown location during the night. 

‘They were last seen at approximately 2am. None of them have made contact with friends or family, which is very unusual. We are all worried sick and thinking the worst.’

She later added that Ms Smith’s belongings, including her car keys and bank card, were with their mother, meaning she has no access to transport or funds. 

Emma Jane also took to Facebook to track the trio down. 

‘None of them have made contact with friends or family, which is very unusual’, she wrote. We are all worried sick and thinking the worst.’

Tori Preece, Ms Russon’s aunt, added: ‘My niece and her friends have been missing since Friday night. There has been no contact and no social media presence since the early hours of Saturday morning.

‘They were at the Muffler in Maesglas until around 11:15 then went to Trecco Bay until around 2am (it is believed). They are not girls who take unnecessary risks and are always in close contact with their families. 

‘All of the families involved are extremely concerned. The Police are involved and they have been recorded as missing persons.’

A relative of Shane Loughlin has also said he is missing and his family are working with the police to try to locate him. 

A post has also been shared in a local sea fishing group, with the author urging members to get in touch if they spot anything. 

‘Guys if anyone has seen anything, can you contact the numbers shown or the police please,’ it reads. ‘Families of all the missing are worried sick. Last seen leaving Trecco Bay around 2am on Saturday morning.’ 

A spokesperson for Trecco Bay Holiday Park said yesterday: ‘We are aware of reports of five missing people. None of these people were registered guests at the park, however we are assisting police with their enquiries.’ 

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